Dispute Resolution requires the development of skills and a familiarity with processes that supplement or are alternatives to litigation, as well as the use of some of the same skills in the everyday practice of negotiating that lawyers undertake on behalf of clients. But beyond helping shape agreements, lawyers increasingly deal with specific forms of dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration. Litigators engage in mediation and arbitration as advocates, while transactional lawyers draft and negotiate over dispute resolution clauses in commercial contracts, employment agreements, joint ventures, trusts and other documents.
Dispute resolution raises legal issues, such as the enforceability of an arbitration clause when one side prefers to litigate or the legal limits on deception in negotiation. It is even more important, however, that a student understand that ways of dispute resolution, especially non-binding processes such as mediation and negotiation, are enormously fluid and flexible, presenting a series of choices and opportunities for advocates and counselors.
Courses currently offered in the elective program which may be helpful to students considering a dispute resolution practice include the following: