Dispute Resolution Track

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 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. Students must declare their intent to complete the Dispute Resolution Track by the fall semester prior to graduation.

Course Tracking

Track Requirements

The Dispute Resolution Track requires a minimum of 17 credits including core courses, a capstone seminar, an experiential requirement, and a substantial writing requirement.

1. Core Courses (12 credits)
Students must complete core courses from each of three categories. The Core Course menu provides a list of course options. Qualifying Core Courses are subject to change. Students should check the course catalog to determine timing of course offerings and are encouraged to consult with faculty advisors with any questions.

Category 1: Negotiation- all students must complete one course from the negotiation category.
Category 2: Specialized ADR courses- all students must complete two courses from the specialized ADR category.
Category 2: Electives- all student must complete at least one elective that applies dispute resolution to a legal subject matter.

2. Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar (2 credits)
The foundational course for the Dispute Resolution Track is the 2-credit Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar. This course is required for all JD students on the Dispute Resolution Track. As a prerequisite for this course, students must have completed or be enrolled in at least one other ADR class or ADR-related clinic or externship). This course fulfills that writing requirement for the Dispute Resolution Track. Students interested is using the course to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement should take the course during the spring of their second year. For other students, the course is best taken in Spring of the third year.

3. Experiential Requirement (4-8 credits)
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 a qualifying clinic or an ADR or other pre-approved externship. Students may complete the experiential component anytime after their first year of law school. In the discretion of the Faculty Director, the experiential requirement can also be satisfied by satisfied by extensive work experience in conflict resolution.

Currently, students have the option of four different clinics that qualify for the Dispute Resolution Track: 
Mediation Clinic 
Civil Rights of Persons with Disabilities Clinic

Environmental Law Clinic 
Restorative Justice Legal Theory and Practice

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:

Judicial programs (e.g., District Court of Maryland ADR Program; Maryland Court of Special Appeals ADR Office; Maryland Judiciary Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office; District of Columbia Multi-Door Program);
Federal agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health; United States Department of State);
Civil rights agencies (e.g., Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission);
International organizations (Mediators Beyond Borders; American Society for International Law) and
State agencies (e.g., Maryland Governor’s Office of Business Ombudsman Maryland; Office of the Attorney General–Consumer Protection Division).

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.