Kristen Blankley

Henry M. Grether, Jr., Professor of Law




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Professor Kristen Blankley


Professor Blankley is the Henry M. Grether, Jr., Professor of Law. She teaches and researches in the areas of alternative dispute resolution, legal ethics, and at the intersection of ethics and dispute resolution. She teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Advocacy in Mediation, Mediation, Family Mediation, Arbitration, Facilitation, and Legal Professions, and Sports Law Practice. She also coaches students in mediation competitions.

Professor Blankley researches a wide variety of topics within alternative dispute resolution. She publishes on domestic arbitration topics under the Federal Arbitration Act, focusing on issues involving jurisdiction, preemption, statutory interpretation. She also writes on mediation ethics, arbitration ethics, collaborative law ethics, and other topics in the area of ADR ethics. She is also engaged in interdisciplinary research focusing primarily on restorative justice.   

She is involved in ADR policy within Nebraska as well as nationwide initiatives. Professor Blankley served as a member of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Council from 2016-2022, and she is a former chair for the Section on Ethics. Professor Blankley has been involved in developing ethics policies and standards in the areas of mediation, restorative justice, and special master work.

Professor Blankley currently sits on the University's Academic Rights and Responsibility Panel, which is an elected position. She also serves by appointment on the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee.

Locally, Professor Blankley sits on the Board of Directors of The Mediation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She is a past member of the Board of Directors and former Board President of the Nebraska Mediation Association.  She also serves as the Secretary of the Advisory Council for the Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution. Professor Blankley serves as a community mediator for three community mediation centers across Nebraska. She is a member of the FINRA roster of arbitrators, for consumer and employment cases in the area of securities.

Professor Blankley joined the faculty in 2010. She received her B.A. in History and Political Science and graduated summa cum laude from Hiram College, and she received her J.D. from The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, and graduating first in her class and earning a Certificate in Dispute Resolution. After law school, Professor Blankley served as a law clerk on the Sixth and Eighth Circuits and worked at the Columbus, Ohio office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs).

Watch to see how Professor Blankley's research is disrupting the school to prison pipeline in Nebraska. 


  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Law 708/G (3 cr hr)
    This course covers the theoretical, practical, ethical and legal issues confronted by mediators, arbitrators, neutral evaluators, and other dispute resolution specialists and the parties they serve. The course considers the legal context within which alternative forms of dispute resolution take place. Procedures examined include: litigation, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, summary jury trial, mini-trial, early neutral evaluation, online dispute resolution and negotiated rulemaking. The status of these procedures is examined in light of existing law and from a public policy point of view. Issues covered include: confidentiality and privilege, conflicts of interest, finality/enforceability of resolutions, liability and ethical standards for practitioners, and judicial review of decisions.
  • Advocacy in Mediation Law 720 (2 cr hr)
    This limited enrollment course considers the differing roles of the neutral and the advocate in mediation, focusing on representing clients in all aspects of the mediation process. Students represent clients in drafting agreements to mediate, preparing for mediation, attending mediation sessions, and drafting mediation settlements. The course also covers issues such as confidentiality and ethics. This course employs role-play and drafting exercises, in addition to class discussions.
  • Arbitration Law 709/G (3 cr hr)
    A study of arbitration law, policies, process, and skills; federal and state laws pertaining to arbitration; commercial, consumer, labor, employment, securities, construction, international, and court-annexed arbitration; and other topics related to arbitration as a method of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Mediation Law 710/G (4 cr hr)
    A study of the process in which a trained neutral third party assists others in resolving a dispute or planning a transaction. Students will be trained in basic mediation skills through readings, demonstrations, simulations, and the keeping of a mediation journal. Topics covered include the nature of mediation and its relationship to other forms of dispute resolution, the nature of conflict, models and styles of mediation, negotiation theory, communication skills, the interest-based mediation process, the representation of clients in mediation, special issues relating to attorney mediators, and mediators standards and ethics.
  • Negotiation Law 740/G (3 cr hr)
    This class will examine a variety of negotiation styles and give students an opportunity to apply these styles in a series of increasingly complex negotiation problems. Students will be expected to complete a journal which relates class discussions, lectures, readings, and personal experiences into a guide book for future negotiation practice. Negotiation problems will include plea bargains, personal injury cases, commercial negotiations, and labor management disputes. Strategic and psychological factors present in negotiation styles will be examined. The purpose of the class is to improve negotiation performance and broaden the repertoire of strategic and stylistic choices available to the student negotiator.
  • Legal Profession Law 790/G; 3 (cr hr)
    A systematic study of the principles of professional responsibility governing the practice of law in the United States. This course meets the faculty's requirement for a course in professional responsibility.
  • Family Mediation Law 588/G, 2 (cr hr)
    Family Mediation is a simulation-based class that meets the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution for an approved 30 training hours requirement to be a Parenting Act mediator under the Nebraska Parenting Act. This course explores issues involving family conflict, focusing on mediating and developing Parenting Plans for parents who are divorcing, separating, or in paternity actions. In this course, students will build on their knowledge of communication, mediation, negotiation, reflective practice, and self-awareness to prepare for family mediations. This course will use a variety of instructional methods, including discussions, lectures, videos, demonstrations, mediation role plays, coaching/feedback, exercises, and reflection. This course will be graded based on a reflective journal kept throughout the semester. Pre-requisite: Mediation (at the Law College) or equivalent outside mediation training with approval from the instructor.
  • A Muddy Mess: The Supreme Court’s Jurisprudence on Jurisdiction for Arbitration Matters,  77 U. MIA L. Rev. 676 (2023).
  • Standing on Its Own Shoulders: The Supreme Court’s Statutory Interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act,  55 Akron L. Rev. 101 (2022).
  • Kristen M. Blankley & Alisha Caldwell Jimenez, Restorative Justice and Youth Offenders in Nebraska,  98 NEB. L. REV. 1 (2019).
  • Online Resources and Family Cases: Access to Justice in Implementation of a Plan,  88 Fordham L. Rev. 2121 (2020).
  • Creating a Framework for Examining Federal Agency Rules Impacting Arbitration,  63 Wash. U. L. J. L. & Pol’y 9 (2020).
  • Kristen M. Blankley, Ashley Votruba, Logen M. Bartz & Lisa M. PytlikZillig, ADR is Not a Household Term: Considering the Ethical and Practical Consequences of the Public’s Lack of Understanding of Mediation and Arbitration,  99 Neb. L. Rev. 797 (2021).
  • FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Pandemic Response,  13 Arb. L. Rev. (2021).
  • Agreeing to Collaborate in Advance,  32 OHIO ST. J. DISP. RESOL. 559 (2017).
  • Is a Mediator Like a Bus? How Legal Ethics May Inform the Question of Case Discrimination by Mediators 52 Gonzaga L. Rev. 327 (2017)
  • The Ethics and Practice of Drafting Pre-Dispute Resolution Clauses 49 Creighton L. Rev. 743 (2016)
  • A Uniform Theory of Federal Court Jurisdiction Under the Federal Arbitration Act Geo. Mason L. Rev. (2015)
  • Impact Preemption: A New Theory of Preemption Under the Federal Arbitration Act,  Fl. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2015)
  • Lying, Stealing, and Cheating: The Role of Arbitrators as Ethics Enforcers,  52 U. Louisville L. Rev. 443 (2014)
  • Advancements in Arbitral Immunity and Judicial Review of Arbitral Awards Create Ethical Loopholes in Arbitration,  JUSTICE CONFLICT & WELL-BEING (2014)
  • Adding By Subtracting? How Limited Scope Agreements for Dispute Resolution Representation Can Increase Access to Attorney Services 28 OHIO ST. J. DISP. RESOL. 659 (2013)
  • Taming the Wild West of Arbitration Ethics,  60 U. Kan. L. Rev. 925 (2012)
  • Keeping a Secret From Yourself? Confidentiality When the Same Neutral Serves Both as Mediator and as Arbitrator in the Same Case,  63 Baylor L. Rev. 317 (2011)
  • Interlocutory Appeal of Non-Final Class Action Arbitration "Awards",  34 Vermont L. Rev. 439 (2010)
  • Multi-Jurisdictional ADR Practice: Lessons for Litigators,  11 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 29 (2010), with Emily E. Root and John Minter
  • Empirical Research on Consumer Arbitration: What the Data Reveals,  113 Penn. St. L. Rev. 1051 (2009), with Sarah R. Cole
  • Online Mediation,  8 Tol. L. Rev. 193 (2006), with Sarah R. Cole
  • Be More Specific! Can Writing Detailed Arbitration Agreements Expand Judicial Review Under the Federal Arbitration Act?  2 Seton Hall Circuit Rev. 391 (2006)
  • Confidentiality or Control: Which Will Prevail as Confidentiality and 'Good Faith' Negotiation Statutes Collide in Court Annexed,  4 Rutgers J. Confl. Resol. (Spring 2006)
  • Class Actions Behind Closed Doors: How Consumer Claims Can (and Should) Be Resolved by Class Action Arbitration,  20 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 451 (2005)
  • Commentary, Arbitrability After Green Tree v. Bazzle: Is There Anything Left for the Courts?,  65 Ohio St. L.J. 697 (2004)
  • Note, Are Public Records Too Public? Why Personally Identifying Information Should be Removed from Both Online and Print Version,  65 Ohio St. L.J. 413 (2004)
  • ADR IN EMPLOYMENT LAW,(Kristen M. Blankley, ed., 3d ed. 2022).
  • Basic Mediation Training Manual,(Kristen M. Blankley, ed., 3d ed. 2019)
  • Arbitration: Law, Policy, and Practice, Carolina Academic Press, 2017 (With Maureen Weston, Jill Gross, Stephen Huber)
  • Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution, Carolina Academic Press, 2017 (With Maureen Weston)
  • Cross Cultural Negotiations For U.S. Negotiators, Kristen M. Blankley, ed., United States Air Force, publ'shr. 2006
Book Chapters
  • Evaluating Ethically, in Mediation Ethics: A Practitioner’s Guide (ABA Press 2021).
  • The New Federal Arbitration Law – a Call to Ethical Practice Not Yet Realized, in DISCUSSIONS IN DISPUTE RESOLUTION: THE FORMATIVE ARTICLES (Hinshaw, Schneider, and Cole, eds.) (Oxford Univ. Press, 2020)
  • Ethical Issues for Mediators, in ADR in Employment Law (2017)
  • Advancements in Arbitral Immunity and Judicial Review of Arbitral Awards Create Ethical Loopholes in Arbitration, in Justice Conflict & Well-Being (2014)
  • Arbitration, in Handbook of Dispute Resolution (Jossey-Bass 2005), with Sarah R. Cole.
  • Restorative Justice Initiatives in Nebraska and the Specialized Ethics for Restorative Justice Facilitators, presented at the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Meeting on Ethics at the Intersection of ADR and Criminal Law (May 2023)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution in Agency Administrative Programs, presented to the federal Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group (March 2023)
  • Date: 

    Friday, May 19, 2023

  • 2018 ABA Free Legal Answers 2019 Pro Bono Leader,  with Ryan Sullivan and Kevin Ruser
  • 2018 John H. Binning Award for Excellence,  University of Nebraska College of Law
  • 2018 Outstanding Member of the Year,  Nebraska Mediation Association
  • 2015 University of Nebraska Woman of Courage, Character and Commitment  (nominated by a Nebraska College of Law student)
  • Winner for "Confidentiality or Control: Which Will Prevail as Confidentiality and 'Good Faith' Negotiation Statutes Collide in C  2004 American Bar Association James Boskey Alternative Dispute Resolution Writing Competition
  • First Place for "Confidentiality or Control: Which Will Prevail as Confidentiality and 'Good Faith' Negotiation Statutes Collide  2004 Nancy H. Rogers Prize in Dispute Resolution
  • Kristen M. Blankley, Kathleen Claussen & Judith Start, Alternative Dispute Resolution in Agency Administrative Programs  Administrative Council of the United States (December 2021).
  • Badgerow v. Walters – Answering Vaden’s Questions and Limiting Its Application (April 11, 2022).
  • Expanding Options for Restorative Justice: When a Victim Decides Not to Participate, the Use of Surrogates Can Bring Cases to the Table  Dispute Resolution Magazine (ABA Section of Disp. Resol. Jan. 2020).
  • The Ethics of Working as the Sole Professional on a Family Law Matter in Nebraska,  Nebraska Lawyer (May/June 2019).
  • Applying Motivational Interviewing to Parenting Act Mediation,  Nebraska Lawyer (Jan/Feb 2017), with Lisa M. PytlikZillig and Kate Speck
  • How to Make Mediation Safer in Cases of High Conflict, (August 2016), at
  • Recent Supreme Court Arbitration Rulings Affect Employment and Class Action Arbitrations,  Nebraska Lawyer (July/August 2012)
  • Can Careful Drafting Expand Judicial Review?,  The Mayhew-Hite Report, vol. 5, issue 2 (2007)
  • Can Class Action Arbitration Decisions Actually Bind Unnamed Class Members?,  Acresolution, Spring 2005, at 28
  • Res Judicata and Class Action Arbitration Awards,  The Mayhew Hite Report, vol. 4, issue 1 (2005)


  • J.D., summa cum laude, The Ohio State University, Mortiz College of Law (2004)
  • Order of the Coif, 2004
  • Managing Editor, 2003-2004, Ohio State Law Review
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Hiram College (2001)

Areas of Expertise


  • Professor of Law, 2019
  • Director, Robert J. Kutak Center for the Teaching and Study of Applied Ethics, 2016
  • Associate Professor of Law, 2016
  • Assistant Professor of Law, 2010