University of Missouri Symposium on Judges and Judicial Education Contains Insights for Dispute Resolution Scholars

My indefatigable colleague, S. I. Strong, organized an impressive symposium on judicial education and describes the relevance to DR as follows:


On October 9-10, the University of Missouri’s Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution (CSDR) convened its annual symposium, this year focusing on “Judicial Education and the Art of Judging: From Myth to Methodology.” Although this topic may seem outside the standard dispute resolution curriculum, the matters under discussion are in fact extremely relevant to a number of core dispute resolution concerns.


For example, the first panel of the day considered what it means to be a judge, an issue that precedes any discussion about judicial education. However, questions about the nature of judging are of equal interest to the dispute resolution community, given contemporary debates about the different roles and methods associated with litigation, arbitration and mediation. Indeed, this issue was at the core of the recent decision in Strine v. Delaware Coalition for Open Government.


The second panel considered the goals of judicial education. Here, panelists concluded that judicial education should aspire to more than “mere” efficiency and competency, and should instead help judges understand the social context of their decisions. This discussion is again relevant to dispute resolution specialists, since it suggests what optimally should be part of the education of neutrals in the field of ADR. Furthermore, one of the members of this panel, Prof. Catherine Rogers of Penn State Law, focused specifically on the education of judges relating to arbitration and considered how efforts to educate judges about arbitration, particularly international arbitration, can positively affect legal decision-making and the rule of law.


The third panel considered pedagogical questions relating to how judges should be educated. The speakers covered a diverse range of subjects, but the presentation by Prof. Brettel Dawson of Carleton University in Canada was especially notable for the way in which it combined empirical data regarding adult education with the special needs of judges. Many of the insights offered by Prof. Dawson could be applied with equal vigor to the education of young lawyers, particularly in the dispute resolution field.


Papers from the symposium will be published in early 2015 in the Journal of Dispute Resolution. More information on the two day event, including a list of the speakers, can be found on the University of Missouri website at


Questions about the presentations or published papers should go to Prof. S.I. Strong at

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