Conflict Resolution and the Law

Unlike most courses that study substantive law, this course focuses on process and strategy; specifically, the strategies that lawyers, institutions, and societies use to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts. Dispute resolution in the legal profession has moved beyond traditional litigation, with trials a rare event. Courts and lawyers have integrated mediation, arbitration, negotiation, collaborative law, restorative conferencing, and a range of other processes into the fabric of civil and criminal legal matters. To address complex legal and policy problems, lawyers must increasingly think beyond the adversarial model.

This course will provide students with a more sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of underlying conflict theory and the myriad ways that lawyers, institutions, and societies approach complex legal problems and policy issues. The course examines the nature of conflict and the benefits and drawbacks of a spectrum of dispute resolution processes used in civil, criminal, and public policy contexts in the United States and internationally. The classes will include a mixture of interactive discussion, skills training, simulations, and guest speakers who are seasoned lawyers, judges, and ADR practitioners.

This course is required for all J.D. students on the Dispute Resolution Track. The course is open to other J.D. and LL.M. students if space permits. As a prerequisite for this course, students must have completed or be enrolled in at least one other ADR class (Counseling & Negotiation, Negotiation, Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution, Mediation, Arbitration, or an ADR-related clinic or externship.)

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course