Disseminating the Missouri Plan to Integrate Dispute Resolution into Standard Law School Courses: A Report on a Collaboration with Six Law Schools

20 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2009

See all articles by Leonard L. Riskin

Leonard L. Riskin

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: June 30, 1998


Traditional litigation, though appropriate in some cases, has given rise to a tide of dissatisfaction. Complaints include high cost, delay, emotional trauma for the parties, and inadequate remedies. Each of these deficiencies stems in part from the tendency of law school education to focus on litigation and the adversarial view of human relations on which it is based, a focus exemplifIed by the traditional reliance on the study of decisions by appellate courts. (This perspective also accounts for a good deal of the public's displeasure with lawyers, and for a good deal of job dissatisfaction among lawyers.) In response to problems surrounding traditional litigation, an array of programs have developed to foster alternative methods of dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and combinations of these (called 'mixed' processes), such as the mini-trial and summary jury trial.

Beginning in 1985, the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law systematically integrated the teaching of alternative dispute resolution into all standard fIrst-year law school courses. That project, supported by two substantial grants from FIPSE (the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education), produced law school course books, an instructor's manual, and a series of videotapes. Under a subsequent (1995-97) grant, the project helped six law schools develop adaptations of the Missouri plan that integrated dispute resolution into their curricula as a way to teach a variety of perspectives and skills necessary for modem law practice and to broaden the focus of legal education.With assistance from the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri-Columbia, these law schools (DePaul, Hamline, Ohio State, Inter-American, Tulane, and the University of Washington) developed adaptations of the Missouri plan and produced new publications, teaching materials, and insights about teaching dispute resolution in law schools. This is a slightly-updated version of the 1998 FIPSE Report, focusing primarily on accomplishments under that grant as of October 1997, when the 'adapting' schools submitted their own reports.

Keywords: alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, mixed processes, mini-trial, legal education, law educator, courses, materials, teaching, law school, curriculum

Suggested Citation

Riskin, Leonard L., Disseminating the Missouri Plan to Integrate Dispute Resolution into Standard Law School Courses: A Report on a Collaboration with Six Law Schools (June 30, 1998). Florida Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 4, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1471372

Leonard L. Riskin (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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