Phyllis Bernard is the Robert S. Kerr, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at
Oklahoma City University School of Law, where she teaches state and federal
administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, and legal ethics. She is the founding
director of the OCU Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution, which has the mission of
expanding the use of mediation, arbitration, negotiated settlement and other
non-litigious forms of dispute resolution through class instruction, scholarly research,
and community outreach. Prof. Bernard heads the Early Settlement Central Mediation
program, the court-annexed ADR program for Oklahoma, Canadian, and Cleveland counties,
operating under contract with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Prof. Bernard is a frequent lecturer and presenter at academic and professional
conferences throughout the nation. Prof. Bernard’s research and teaching interests in
mediation derive from practical experience as a litigator, lobbyist and adjudicator in
Washington, D.C. Prof. Bernard is a fellow of the National Association of Administrative
Law Judges. She has served as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United
States in developing an ADR process to replace most Medicare adjudications for
institutional providers under the then-$50 billion Part A program. As a state
Commissioner serving on the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, Prof. Bernard assisted
in developing the rules and procedures replacing most of the state merit system appeals
process with ADR, and in developing the first ethics rules for Merit Protection
commissioners. She serves on the Board of Directors for Southwest Power Pool, lnc., a
not-for-profit entity with responsibility for maintaining reliable electricity on
non-discriminatory terms for public and private power companies in an eight-state region
of the United States.
On the international level Prof. Bernard has served as a consultant to the U.N. World
Health Organization, advising the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on privatization of
their health care system and development of a quality of care dispute resolution system.
With the International Federation of Women Lawyers in the Niger Delta Prof. Bernard has
designed an appropriate tribal peacemaking program, using the Early Settlement model.
This model has become a successful prototype for bridging traditional and civil justice
systems at the village level, being adapted for use in Liberia, Kenya and the Sudan. As a
consultant with the ABA Africa Law Initiative, Prof. Bernard has developed a mediator
training program for the Rwandan civil courts providing guidance for 18,000 volunteer
Prof. Bernard holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a master’s in
history from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a bachelor’s
in history (cum laude) from Bryn Mawr College. She is a member of the bars of the
District of Columbia, the federal courts for the District of Columbia, and the U.S.
Supreme Court. In the American Bar Association, Prof. Bernard has served on the governing
councils of three sections: the Africa Law Initiative, the Section of Administrative Law
& Regulatory Practice and the Dispute Resolution Section, where she also served as
Long-Term Planning Officer. She is Chair of the ADR Section of the Association of
American Law Schools; and is co-editor of the book, Dispute Resolution Ethics: A
Comprehensive Guide, published by the ABA.
Contributions to Books