This seminar is an interactive workshop designed to introduce students to the theory, principles and practice of conflict management systems design with the goal of training students to assume this new and creative professional role. Lawyers are increasingly being called upon to act not simply as litigators or deal-makers, but also as “process architects” for institutions, organizations and governments. In addition, they are being asked to design, tailor and manage systems to handle "streams" of disputes in an effective and efficient manner, such as those arising from commercial transactions, mass torts, natural disasters, government programs and restorative justice initiatives.
Students will be expected to read, write, discuss, critique and participate in simulated exercises. After an overview of conflict management theory and principle, students will, through readings, discussions and exercises, study actual systems that reflect conflict management design principles. Then through a series of hands-on role plays and simulations, students will have the opportunity to develop systems design skills and work on a mock consulting team during class. The practical and ethical implications of systems design work will be explored, as well as opportunities for synthesis of systems design skills into legal practice.
The class meets one Friday afternoon and two Saturdays (all day) and two Sundays (all day). Due to the intensive and interactive nature of the seminar, attendance at all class sessions is mandatory. Grades will be based on class participation including discussions and simulations, the quality of a five-page journal analyzing a class consulting team simulation and a 15-page final seminar paper analyzing a current dispute system, designing a new system or proposing a new framework for the systems design field.