Message for Students Interested in ADR

After I attended the orientation on Friday for the LLM Program at my school, I sent an email to the students suggesting some resources that they might be interested in.

It occurred to me that other faculty may want to send a similar message to your students.  I adapted the message, below, and you may want to forward it to your students possibly adding, deleting, or substituting some material.  In addition to sending this message to students in traditional ADR courses, you may have encountered students from other courses who would be interested.  You might also want to pass it along to student ADR organizations as well as those running ADR competitions.

You will see that it refers to the Stone Soup Project, inviting students to consider doing empirical research for independent study courses.  JD students might want to do a small study for a comment in a journal.  Think about students you might enjoy supervising in doing one of these papers.

Students or faculty who want to do some research along these lines will need to get approval from your school’s institutional review or similar ethics board.  I briefly gave some advice about doing so in this document and I plan to write another post with more detail.  I would be happy to give feedback or advice about research issues to interested faculty or students.

I hope you all have a great academic year.


I am writing this email to students to express my hope that you all will have a wonderful time this year.

I remember my times as a student, filled with excitement in learning new things and expanding my intellectual perspective.  I spent a lot of time reading, which I loved.  I hope that you do too.

I encourage students interested in ADR to subscribe to the Indisputably blog.  Law professors specializing in ADR write posts on various topics that you might be interested in.  To subscribe, click the “subscribe” button in the upper right part of the screen.

I wrote this blog post with some general reading suggestions for dispute resolution students.

I posted a lot of resources on my website and you might find some of interest, particularly the publications.

In the past ten years or so, I have focused a lot on the role of lawyers as advocates, who I consider to be dispute resolution professionals as much as neutrals.  In the dispute resolution field, we often focus on neutrals such as mediators and arbitrators, which obviously is very important.  In most legal disputes, private neutrals aren’t involved at all  or don’t get actively involved until late in the process.  Thus lawyer-advocates do a lot of the dispute resolution in the pretrial stage.  This is reflected in a study I did, Good Pretrial Lawyering:  Planning to Get to Yes Sooner, Cheaper, and Better, 16 Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution 63 (2014).  You also might want to read a guide for lawyers:  Lawyering with Planned Early Negotiation:  How You Can Get Good Results for Clients and Make Money and/or the Planned Early Dispute Resolution User Guide, published by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution.  These publications explain how lawyer-advocates can work productively with neutrals.

I have become increasingly critical of traditional dispute resolution theory, which I believe provides some misleading impressions of what practitioners actually do.  To address this concern, Dean Rafael Gely and I recently initiated the Stone Soup Dispute Resolution Knowledge Project to help faculty include in their courses more knowledge about actual practice.  One of the main methods is having students interview practitioners (and others) about actual cases and dispute resolution issues.

For more information about this, read the “Stone Soup mini-course,” which is a series of short posts.  If you want to learn more about how lawyers actually practice, you might consider conducting interviews for an independent study course or a note in a law journal.  Of course, you would need to make sure that you have your instructor’s agreement and you probably would need to get approval by the University’s institutional review board.

Best wishes for what I hope will be one of the best years of your life.


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