The Dispute Resolution Track at Maryland Carey Law exposes law students to the theory, skills, and practical experience needed to navigate dispute resolution processes in a variety of legal contexts. Although a basic understanding of dispute resolution options is a core competency for all lawyers, the Track is especially appropriate for students who want to pursue careers as complex civil litigators, transactional attorneys, in-house counsel, public policy leaders, or third-party neutrals (e.g., mediators, collaborative attorneys, ombudsmen). ADR is also important for attorneys in the fields of employment, family, business, construction, sports/entertainment, public policy, and international law.
Students who pursue the Dispute Resolution track should demonstrate the following learning outcomes:
The Dispute Resolution Track requires a minimum of 17 credits including core courses, a capstone seminar, an experiential requirement (clinic, externship, or extensive work experience), and a substantial writing requirement.
Students must complete core courses from each of the categories in the table below. All students must complete one of four different negotiation courses, two specialized ADR courses, and one elective that applies dispute resolution to a legal subject matter. This menu provides students with flexibility to select courses most relevant to their future career plans.
Students interested in pursuing the Dispute Resolution Track should meet with the Faculty Director or Associate Director as early as possible (preferably during their first year or Fall of second year) to develop a plan customized to their interests and course availability, as not all courses are offered annually. Ideally, students on the Dispute Resolution Track should take one ADR-related course from the menu below in each semester of their second and third year.
|Negotiation (1 required)||Specialized ADR (2 required)||Electives (at least one additional course from the prior two columns or from this list)|
The foundational course for the Dispute Resolution Track is the 2-credit Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar. This seminar is a “capstone” course, best taken in Spring of the third year after students complete most of the other core requirements for the track. The Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar provides a comprehensive overview of the dispute resolution strategies used by lawyers and legal systems to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts in a variety of contexts (civil and criminal law, commercial, public policy, public sector, international). The seminar will be highly interactive, combining readings, discussions, guest speakers, and simulations. Grades will be based upon class participation, and a 15-page paper that analyzes the application of conflict resolution theory or an ADR process to a complex legal or policy problem.
In addition to the course requirements, students on the Dispute Resolution Track must complete an experiential requirement (minimum 4 credits), which may be satisfied by one of four clinics or an ADR or other approved externship. Students may complete the experiential component during their second or third years. In the discretion of the Faculty Director, the experiential requirement can also be satisfied by extensive work experience in conflict resolution.
Currently, students have the option of four different clinics that qualify for the Dispute Resolution Track (another agricultural mediation course is under development):
In this year-long clinic, students learn and practice mediation skills in the role of the mediator in court-based cases and in Baltimore City schools. Students who complete the Mediation Clinic receive training and experience that qualifies them to apply to be a court-approved mediator for the District Court of Maryland ADR Program.
In this clinic, students learn to represent clients in mediations concerning disability discrimination matters. Students also learn to negotiate potential settlements of disability discrimination claims.
Students in the Environmental Law Clinic study and practice a range of dispute resolution strategies to address environmental issues, including negotiation with competing stakeholders and regulatory bodies, policy advocacy, and/or complex civil litigation.
Students in this LTP attend a one-day training with Mediation Clinic students, learn about restorative justice, engage in policy advocacy around school discipline and restorative justice, and work on school conflict resolution education initiatives in Baltimore City schools.
The experiential requirement may also be satisfied through an ADR externship or other approved externship in which the student gains extensive conflict resolution experience.
A rich array of ADR experiential opportunities exist at Maryland Carey Law. The Maryland Judiciary is an international leader in court-based dispute resolution processes. Our proximity to Washington, D.C. offers students externship opportunities with federal agency ADR programs and international organizations. In the past, students have completed ADR Externships with:
Other specialty externships (public interest, international, environmental, health, business, Asper/judicial) may qualify for the Dispute Resolution Track experiential requirement upon prior approval by the program’s Faculty Director.
Students may fulfill the minimum four-credit requirement through completion of an externship for three or more credits, plus the one-credit ADR Externship Workshop. All externships must satisfy the law school’s general externship requirements.
To complete the Dispute Resolution Track, students must write a paper of at least fifteen pages on a topic related to dispute resolution. Most students will fulfill this requirement through the paper written for the Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar. In the unlikely event that the writing requirement is not satisfied in the seminar, a student may satisfy the writing requirement through another seminar, independent written work, or ADR writing competition. The paper must receive a grade of B or higher. The Faculty Director must review and approve all papers not written as part of a course.
Students must apply for the Track by the Fall semester of their third year. Upon successful completion of the Dispute Resolution Track, the Faculty Director and Associate Director will prepare a personalized Letter of Completion to accompany the student’s transcript, which will describe how the student completed the track’s requirements and highlight the unique academic learning, skill set, and professional experience gained by the student that will support them in their future career.