Project-Based Learning and ADR Education: One Model for Teaching ADR Students to Problem Solve For Real
38 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2010
This article details the experience of two ADR professors in establishing an advanced ADR course where students are given the chance to assume full responsibility for commencing and completing a substantial and complex dispute resolution project for a real client. The course -- titled Advanced Alternative Dispute Resolution -- has no textbook, no tidy lesson plan, and no teacher’s manual. Instead, the course is premised on faith (and experience) that a group of fifteen law students could come together with faculty support and design, from scratch, a quality dispute resolution process.
So far, the course has produced eight successful projects, with clients ranging from a Fortune 500 company to a large union to a small nonprofit. In 2005, the course was awarded the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution’s Award for Excellence in ADR: Problem Solving in the Law School. Students typically view their “real life lawyering” in the course as among the most satisfying of their law school experiences.
Ideally suited for law school faculty and others interested in dispute resolution curriculum, the article describes the course, analyzes its track record, and also shares what the authors have learned along the way. As the authors conclude, the course can be implemented wherever interested teachers possess the requisite experience, community connections, and facilitation skills and wherever there are organizations with vexing internal and external disputes. The former may not be the case in all law schools, but the latter probably is, alas, true everywhere.
Keywords: ADR Curriculum, ADR Clinic, ADR, Skills Curriculum, Advanced ADR, Negotiation, Public Interest, Community Clinic
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