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Mariana H.C. Gonstead

Professor of Law

  • Education
  • J.D., Harvard Law School
    LL.M., Harvard Law School
    J.D., Universidad Catolica Andres Bello

  • Expertise
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Dispute Resolution

Professor Mariana H.C. Gonstead holds J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, she led projects in Latin America in the area of capacity building of conflict resolution, conflict transformation, and cultural awareness with community leaders and educational institutions. She has taught classes on conflict resolution at the Metropolitana University in Venezuela and the Law School of the University of Alfonso X El Sabio in Madrid, Spain.

Her first law degree was from the Catholic University Andres Bello in Caracas. In Caracas, she practiced law and clerked for Justice Calcano de Temeltas of the Supreme Court. She also worked as an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York City.

Currently, Professor Gonstead is professor of law at St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches courses in the area of conflict resolution, such as ADR, mediation, community-based advocacy, and environmental problem solving. She is also the founder and executive director of the University of St. Thomas International Dispute Resolution Research Network.

Her research explores how Dispute Systems Design can create more participatory models that lead to broader inclusion in dispute and conflict management systems design. She has publications in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

As the Co-Chair of the ABA Law School Committee of the ADR Section, she is a coordinator for the Regional and National Competitions of Representation in Mediation of the American Bar Association, as well as the ABA National ADR Educators' Colloquium. She also serves as part of the Scholarly Award Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution.

In addition, she has broad international experience in the field. She has trained and led national consensus building efforts in Brazil, focused on maximizing the nation's dispute resolution systems. She has also trained Venezuelans on advanced mediation and Dispute Systems Design. Working with the Trust for the Americas at the Organization of American States (OAS), she has led programs on Dispute Systems Design capacity building with the labor and non-profit sectors in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. As an expert in investor-State disputes, she participated in the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in China.



Mariana Hernandez-Crespo & Etulio Vargas, Investing Social Capital: Exploring the Multi-Door Courthouse to Maximize Dispute Resolution Systems in Brazil (in Portuguese: Tribunal Multiportas: Investindo No Capital Social Para Maximizar o Sistema de Solução de Conflitos No Brasil, FGV Editora, 2012) (Foundation Press, 2011).


Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, From Problem to Potential: The Need to Go Beyond Investor-State Disputes and Integrate Civil Society, Investors and State at the Local Level, in Poverty and the International Economic Legal System (Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, ed., Cambridge U. Press, 2013).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, Capitalizing on Diversity: Building Capacity for Effective Participation in Systems of Conflict Management and Resolution, in Aspectos Atuais Sobre a Mediação e Outros Métodos Extra e Judiciais de Resolução de Conflitos 283 (Adolfo Braga Neto & Lilia Maia de Morais Sales, eds., GZ Editora, 2012).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, Securing Investment: Innovative Business Strategies for Conflict Management in Latin America, in 2 ADR in Business: Practice and Issues Across Countries and Cultures 457 (Arnold Ingen-Housz ed., Kluwer Law International 2011).


Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, From Noise to Music: The Potential of the Multi-Door Courthouse Model to Advance Systemic Inclusion and Participation as a Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law in Latin America J. Disp. Resol. (forthcoming 2012).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, From Paper to People: ADR Capacity Building and a Framework of Sustainable Implementation for BITs to Increase Satisfaction of Investor-State Interests in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Lexington, Va., U.S., Mar. 29, 2010, Investor-State Disputes: Prevention and Alternatives to Arbitration 55, U.N. Doc. UNCTAD/WEB/DIAE/IA/2010/8 (June 2011).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo & Frank Sander, Building the Latin America We Want: Supplementing Representative Democracies with Consensus Building 10 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 425 (2009).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, A Systemic Perspective of ADR in Latin America: Enhancing the Shadow of the Law Through Citizens' Participation, 10 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 91 (Fall 2008).

Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, A Dialogue Between Professors Frank Sander and Mariana Hernandez-Crespo: Exploring the Evolution of the Multi-Door Courthouse 5 U. St. Thomas L.J. 665 (2008).


Mariana Hernandez-Crespo, A Glance from 30,000 Feet: The Complexity and Promise of Conflict Resolution in Latin America Int'l Disp. Resol. News, Winter 2009/2010, at 15.