Kaplan Lecture History

The late Honorable Lawrence J. Kaplan

The Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania (MCWP) has been proud to share in the honor of presenting the annual Kaplan Lecture, named after our founding member, the Honorable Lawrence W. Kaplan, former Judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Family Division. Judge Kaplan served in the Allegheny County family court from 1978 to 1998 and continued to sit as a Senior Judge for several years thereafter.

Judge Kaplan is known for his commitment to the principle that giving the parties an opportunity to resolve their own disputes would improve the quality of dispute resolution and justice in family courts. Judge Kaplan championed the practice of mediation in Allegheny County since the early 1980s and he established the Family Mediation Council, one of the first organizations in Allegheny County dedicated to advancing the use of mediation, which ultimately became the MCWP.  In addition to his distinguished career on the bench, Judge Kaplan held leadership positions in many organizations, among them the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Starting in 2005, the Mediation Council, the Allegheny County Bar Association ADR and Collaborative Law Committees, the CVVC Dialogue and Resolution Center and the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania (CLASP) joined in bringing nationally known experts to Pittsburgh, offering their insights to stimulate the growth of alternate dispute resolution in the region. Below is a list of the past presenters, with links to additional information. 

The next Kaplan Lecture will take place in 2021. 

Previous Kaplan Lecture presenters:

2019–Sukhsimranjit Singh, Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law  

Key Lessons in Cross-Cultural Understanding 

​2018–Bernie Mayer, Professor at Creighton University School of Law 

2017–Prabha Sankaranaryan, President & CEO of Mediators Beyond Borders International and Tim Dawson, Founder & Co-Principal of the Art of Democracy

2016–Brad Heckmann, CEO of the New York Peace Institute

2015–Forrest “Woody” Mosten, attorney, author and practicing mediator and collaborative law practitioner

2014–Sharon Ellison, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Powerful Non-Defensive Communication

2013–Randall Kiser, researcher and consultant in legal decision making and principal analyst at DecisionSet®

2012–Frances Johnston, Co-Founder of the Teleos Institute and author of several books, includingThe Resonant Leader

2011–Craig Runde, Director of Center for Conflict Dynamics and Mediation Training Institute, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

2010–Jack Himmelstein, Co-Director and Trainer, Center for Understanding in Conflict, New York and California

2009–Nan Waller Burnett, Senior Partner, Dispute Resolution Professionals, LLC, Golden, CO

2008–Robert A. Baruch Bush, Distinguished Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution at Hofstra University, co-author of The Promise of Mediation  

2007–Michelle LeBaron, Director, University of British Columbia Program on Dispute Resolution

2006–Kenneth Cloke, Director, Center for Dispute Resolution, Santa Monica, CA

2005–Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director,  National Institute for Civil Discourse

2004–Hon. Robert Bell, Chief Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals