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Michael Colatrella Jr.

Michael Colatrella Jr.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law
B.A., Rutgers University
J.D., Seton Hall University
LL.M., New York University


Phone: 916.739.7303
My Email

Office Hours

By appointment.


“If lawyers are to be good and valuable counselors, they need to be prepared to see legal issues and legal disputes from many perspectives in the context of all the relevant relationships ... What is needed is a sea change toward educating to create the more complete, “holistic,” lawyer by cultivating not only the lawyer’s reasoning ability but also the lawyer’s morality, creativity, professional identity, and general problem solving skills.” — Michael T. Colatrella

Recognized as being at the forefront of legal education reform, Professor Michael Colatrella is an expert in alternative dispute resolution with more than 20 years of innovative work in mediating disputes. His expertise in alternative dispute resolution includes mediation, negotiation and conflict management. He is co-author of the interdisciplinary text Mediation — Skills & Techniques, which is widely used in law schools, graduate schools, and schools of diplomacy. Professor Colatrella joined the McGeorge faculty in 2009 and, in 2015, accepted a three-year appointment as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Dean Colatrella's current dispute resolution scholarship focuses on improving mediator techniques and mediation processes so that self-represented litigants may participate more meaningfully and effectively. His most recent article on this topic is entitled, Informed Consent in Mediation: Promoting Pro Se Parties' Informed Settlement Choice While Honoring the Mediator's Ethical Duties, was published in the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. He is also in the process of completing a comprehensive online training program for The California Judiciary entitled Mediating with Self-Represented Litigants.

Dean Colatrella is also a noted scholar on legal education. He co-developed McGeorge's innovative, required first-year course "The Legal Profession," and is a nationally sought-after contributor on legal education reform issues. His most recent scholarship in this area is entitled Learning: "The True, the Good and the Beautiful" in Law School: Educating the Twenty-First Century Litigator, published in The University of Texas's Review of Litigation. He is also a resident editor of, a blog and podcast devoted to supporting law school faculty, administration, and staff to produce legal professionals who find meaning in their work and who embrace and exemplify the core professional values of diligence, excellence, integrity, and public service. You can view his blog here. You can also view his "Ted- Style" talk given at the national LedgalEd conference, entitled, "What I learned about Teaching Law From Being an Art Student" below.

Dean Colatrella is a court-approved mediator in California, Texas, New Jersey and Kansas, and a former member of the Association of American Law Schools' Executive Committee for Dispute Resolution. Since 1991, he has mediated disputes involving employment contracts, commercial contracts, consumer fraud suits, personal injury, and commercial and residential leases. Dean Colatrella also educates corporate executives and business people in a wide variety of conflict management and human relations matters. He has consulted for public and private organizations such as Ericsson, Lockheed Martin, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, EDS, Alliance Data, Tenet Health Systems, Frito Lay and FEMA.

Prior to joining the faculty at McGeorge, Dean Colatrella served as Director of Southern Methodist University's Center for Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management in Dallas, Texas. Among his contributions to the Center were the development of a Master of Arts in conflict management, the establishment of a Mediation Clinic and the creation of a series of international programs. He also served as a full-time Lecturer-in-Law from 2000-05 at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law where he taught Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy.

Before pursuing a full-time academic career, Dean Colatrella was a litigator in New Jersey at Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, which is listed among The American Lawyer's top 100 law firms in the United States. He also has experience working for both trial and appellate courts. He clerked at the New Jersey Superior Court for Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, now Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News, and served an externship on the United States Court of Appeals for Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., now Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Courses: Mediation, Negotiation & Settlements, Prisoner Civil Rights Clinic, Legal Profession, Professional Responsibility

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