René S.  Ellis

Beason & Ellis Conflict Resolution
Durham, NC


René Stemple Ellis has devoted her professional career to alternative dispute resolution, serving as a mediator, arbitrator, and special master in diverse subject areas of the law throughout the Southeastern United States, principally in North Carolina.


Her vast experience as a mediator—facilitating thousands of mediations—has covered litigation in: construction, business disputes, products liability, insurance coverage, employment discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliatory termination, environmental disputes, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, wrongful death, and other catastrophic personal injury cases.  These mediations frequently arise in multiple-party contexts, including class actions.  Lawyers have often called upon her to mediate a dispute that has as "the second mediator,” following a first mediation that did not succeed.


Her experience as an arbitrator includes service on three-member panels and as sole arbitrator. The subject areas of her arbitration service include professional malpractice, construction defects, products liability, personal injury, including a current arbitration of a class action of a computer industry dispute. 


Federal and state judges have appointed Ms. Ellis as Special Master in several complex litigations, including a national class action involving products liability, a multi-party CERCLA dispute in U.S. District Court (N.D. Ala.), and a class action in Florida involving claims of property damage and personal injury.


Ms. Ellis has long been an educator in alternative dispute resolution.  She has been a lead faculty member for mediation training in North Carolina for twenty years. In addition, she has been a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law, teaching negotiation and mediation advocacy since 1992.  Finally, she has presented on alternative dispute resolution at seminars across the nation, and she is the author or co-author of numerous seminar manuscripts and scholarly articles in the field.


From 1990 through 2002, Ms. Ellis served as Executive Director of the Private Adjudication Center of Duke University School of Law. In that position, she designed, implemented and directed the administration of nationally recognized ADR programs for settlement of class actions and mass torts.  During this service, Ms. Ellis also led the Center's mediation training and administered the Center's dispute resolution programs.  


Ms. Ellis has been annually listed since 2007 in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC) in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution.   In addition, Ms. Ellis was named the Best Lawyers'2013 Raleigh Arbitration "Lawyer of the Year". Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year".


Ms. Ellis is a co-founder and partner of Beason & Ellis Conflict Resolution, LLC. She graduated cum laude from West Virginia University in 1983 and in 1986 from Duke Law School. 



  • Essential Mediation Skills for the New Mediator
  • Mediator Essentials: Skills for Facilitating Negotiated Agreements