Douglas Yarn Interview
Recorded by Robert Benjamin on March 23, 2019
Douglas Yarn is a professor of law and has taught since 1994 at the Georgia State College of Law. He serves as the Executive Director of the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, a leading inter-university, multi-disciplinary theory building center. He had previously practiced law but began shifting his focus to ADR in 1984 and subsequently went in-house with the AAA. He has mediated, trained, and consulted nationally and internationally for both public and private entities, in civil and commercial matters, public policy disputes and environmental issues, among others.
It is worthy of note that Doug’s personal and family life reaches far back into Southern history and culture and consciously or otherwise appears to play a part in his disposition toward conflict management work. The arc of his life and career have mostly occurred within the geographic region, if not the epicenter, of the Civil War of almost two centuries ago, the legacy of which still radiates stresses that remain palpable in American politics and culture to the present day, not to mention gave rise to the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement which erupted a century later in the 1950’s and 60’s. Racial injustice remains a disabling issue that still has not been adequately reconciled to the present day and deeply affects our society.
Doug Yarn teaches in the areas of conflict resolution and professional responsibility and serves as Executive Director of the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, a leading inter-university, multi-disciplinary theory-building center. He has taught at the law schools of Emory University and University of Georgia and in the civil engineering department at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Before joining the GSU faculty, Professor Yarn practiced as a litigator, in-house counsel for an investment banking firm, and in-house attorney, mediator, and panelist trainer for the AAA. He has trained mediators and arbitrators nationwide, drafted arbitration legislation, and designed conflict management systems for private and public entities.
Professor Yarn has served as a facilitator and mediator in hundreds of civil legal disputes and numerous public policy disputes involving issues such as access to health care, land use, and the environment. His publications include, practice treatises on alternative dispute resolution, the authoritative dictionary for conflict resolution, and numerous book chapters and articles. His research interests include international environmental conflict resolution, ADR ethics, conflict management in institutions of higher education, history of English arbitration, dueling codes, apology and forgiveness, biological foundations of conflict resolution, and conciliatory behavior in non-human primates. In his spare time, he plays Uilleann pipes in a traditional Irish ceili band.