Theory of Change Symposium – Part 2

This second part in the Theory of Change symposium includes three pieces about legal education and two pieces about dispute resolution practice.

Rebekah Gordon suggests ways that law schools can engage students’ interest in ADR.  Debra Berman argues that law schools should provide more realistic instruction about ADR by increasingly focusing on mediation advocacy and using more realistic negotiation simulations.  Jim Alfini argues that increasing coverage of ADR on bar exams would increase law schools’ interest in teaching ADR.  He also recommends that we sponsor more events with law school faculty and administrators who don’t specialize in ADR.

Jane Juliano recommends that lawyers and mediators engage sitting judges to provide focused assessments in mediation as appropriate.  David Henry proposes that courts use “mediation optimization orders” to improve parties’ and lawyers’ preparation for mediation and improve the quality of mediation as a result.

Here’s more detail with links to the pieces:

Jim AlfiniRekindling the ADR Flame in the Legal Academy:  Include ADR in Bar Exams and Hold ADR Symposia at Legal Education EventsJim advocates two potential “sparks” to rekindle the ADR flame in law schools that are explored in this essay. The first is the development of appropriate ADR questions for inclusion on bar examinations. The second is to hold ADR symposia at the AALS meetings and other gatherings of law school administrators and faculty.  He is the president, dean, and professor emeritus of South Texas College of Law Houston.

Debra BermanPreparing Law Students for the Real World Through Mediation Advocacy Training and Realistic Negotiation SimulationsDebra encourages continued efforts to expand mediation advocacy course offerings and opportunities for students to engage in more real-world negotiation training.  She is assistant professor of clinical studies and director of the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Rebekah GordonMove Over Moot Court.  It Is Mediation’s Turn:  Increasing the Number of Students Interested in ADR CoursesRebekah, reflecting on her experience as a law student, urges law school faculty to inform students about ADR from the very beginning of law school and provide more opportunities for students to learn about ADR.  She is a 3L student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

David HenryThe Case for Mediation Optimization Orders.  David proposes that courts generally use “mediation optimization orders” that order lawyers and parties to prepare for and participate in mediation early in litigated cases.  The orders normally require them to attend a second mediation session if they do not settle in the first session.  He is a Florida Supreme Court certified civil mediator.

Jane Juliano:  Creatively Designing Mediation Procedures to Include Evaluations by Courts. Based on her experience mediating in a federal agency, Jane suggests that mediators consider engaging courts to provide authoritative evaluations when appropriate.  She is the chief of the ADR Unit of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center.  The views expressed in this article are those of the author, writing in her personal capacity and not as an employee of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel or Georgetown University Law Center.


I welcome additional contributions to this symposium.  If you might be interested in writing a short piece – they generally are 2-4 pages (though they can be longer or shorter) – please take a look at posts that provide the basics about writing for the symposium and give more information about what does and doesn’t fit into the parameters of the symposium.

I plan to post a collection of contributions every few weeks as long as people want to write pieces for the symposium.

Here’s a post with an index of the contributions to this symposium.  As I add posts, I will link to them all in this index post so that you can find them all in one place.  You can bookmark this post if you like.