Mediation is a core dispute resolution process, both within the context of courtroom and administrative litigation, as well as in the transactional context. This is true in all types of disputes, including commercial, employment, labor, international, cultural/community, policy, and domestic relations.
This seminar is an intensive, immersive, skills-oriented course designed around a simulated mediation of a complex civil dispute involving a small, tight-knit community, devastated by a mudslide. This mudslide is (perhaps) caused by the actions of the major employer in the community – a family-owned lumber business that employs many community members. Students will use this single mediation problem throughout three intensive days to learn the theory, principles, and practice of mediation advocacy by experimenting with different styles and techniques. Students will engage in various exercises within this simulation, such as selecting the appropriate type of mediator for the dispute, preparing clients that have conflicting goals, and coalition-building among parties with competing goals within mediation. Students will develop hands-on mediation skills that will help them recognize and capitalize on mediator tactics and prepare them to effectively advocate for a client. At the end of this course, students should understand the strategy and tactics necessary to build effective mediated settlement agreements in a multi-party dispute. This course will also prepare students to recognize and handle ethical and confidentiality issues in mediation, as well as the difficulties involved in mediating and resolving a case where the parties will continue to maintain relationships, either in the employment context or in the regulatory context.
The final grade for the seminar will be based on three components (this class does not have a final examination): (1) class participation, including discussion and simulation exercises; (2) a 5-page post-course reflective journal, and (3) a final 10 to 12-page paper creating a mediation advocacy plan addressing a current or recent conflict or dispute in the news. Additional instructions on these graded components will be provided in the course syllabus and in class.
Through this course, students will:
- Develop and sharpen skills to act as an effective advocate in mediation.
- Understand and evaluate strategies and tactics used by a mediator in order to determine the best strategy and tactic as a mediation advocate.
- Gain knowledge in the doctrinal and theoretical underpinnings of mediation advocacy.
- Use your knowledge of an organized theoretical framework to analyze the issues of mediation advocacy through the use of a simulated mediation problem.
- Engage in effective problem-solving during different stages within the mediation advocacy simulation problem.
- Identify and appreciate ethical considerations that may arise while acting as an advocate in mediation.
- Demonstrate professionalism in interactions with classmates and professors.
- Engage in self-reflection and peer critique, including applying lessons learned in exercises to future performances
- Provide constructive feedback to classmates.