University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Programs & Centers

Dispute Resolution Track

The Dispute Resolution Track at Maryland Carey Law exposes law students to the theory, skills, and practical experience needed to navigate dispute resolution processes in a variety of legal contexts. Although a basic understanding of dispute resolution options is a core competency for all lawyers, the Track is especially appropriate for students who want to pursue careers as complex civil litigators, transactional attorneys, in-house counsel, public policy leaders, or third-party neutrals (e.g., mediators, collaborative attorneys, ombudsmen). ADR is also important for attorneys in the fields of employment, family, business, construction, sports/entertainment, public policy, and international law. 

Learning Outcomes

Students who pursue the Dispute Resolution track should demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  1. Understand key concepts in dispute resolution;
  2. Appreciate how our society and legal system approach conflict and reflect on the impact that those approaches may have in achieving justice for society and individuals, including those who lack access to effective legal representation;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding and practice facility of basic dispute resolution processes, including negotiation, adversarial processes (such as arbitration and litigation), and problem-solving approaches (such as mediation, collaborative law, or restorative justice);
  4. Understand the importance of considering available options for dispute prevention and resolution;
  5. Be able to identify, frame, and address legal problems and conflicts from differing perspectives;
  6. Apply professional judgement through self-reflection and conduct consistent with the legal profession’s values and standards.

Track Requirements

The Dispute Resolution Track requires a minimum of 17 credits including core courses, a capstone seminar, an experiential requirement (clinic, externship, or extensive work experience), and a substantial writing requirement.

  1. Core Courses (12 credits)

    Students must complete core courses from each of the categories in the table below. All students must complete one of four different negotiation courses, two specialized ADR courses, and one elective that applies dispute resolution to a legal subject matter. This menu provides students with flexibility to select courses most relevant to their future career plans.

    Students interested in pursuing the Dispute Resolution Track should meet with the Faculty Director or Associate Director as early as possible (preferably during their first year or Fall of second year) to develop a plan customized to their interests and course availability, as not all courses are offered annually. Ideally, students on the Dispute Resolution Track should take one ADR-related course from the menu below in each semester of their second and third year.

    Negotiation (1 required) Specialized ADR (2 required) Electives (at least one additional course from the prior two columns or from this list)
    • Negotiation
    • Counseling & Negotiation
    • Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (which covers negotiation, mediation and arbitration)
    • ADR Team Negotiation Seminar (Fall 2-credit course only; course enrollment based on intraschool competition)
    • Arbitration
    • Mediation: Practice & Theory
    • Collaborative Law & Practice
    • Restorative Justice
    • International Arbitration
    • Pretrial Civil Litigation
    • Writing in Law Practice: Drafting Negotiated Agreements
    • Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (if not used to satisfy the Negotiation requirement)
    • Another course from the Negotiation or Specialized ADR columns OR
    • Labor Law
    • Employment Law
    • Family Law
    • Administrative Law
    • International Business Transactions
    • Trial Practice
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy
    • Legislation
    • Real Estate Negotiation and Drafting
    • Gender Violence Seminar
    • Sports and the Law
    • Justice at the Intersection of Social Work and the Law Seminar
    • Interprofessional Education in Action: Policy Perspectives and Applications from Law, Social Work, and Public Health
  2. Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar (2 credits)

    The foundational course for the Dispute Resolution Track is the 2-credit Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar. This seminar is a “capstone” course, best taken in Spring of the third year after students complete most of the other core requirements for the track. The Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar provides a comprehensive overview of the dispute resolution strategies used by lawyers and legal systems to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts in a variety of contexts (civil and criminal law, commercial, public policy, public sector, international). The seminar will be highly interactive, combining readings, discussions, guest speakers, and simulations. Grades will be based upon class participation, and a 15-page paper that analyzes the application of conflict resolution theory or an ADR process to a complex legal or policy problem.

  3. Experiential Requirement (4-8 credits)

    In addition to the course requirements, students on the Dispute Resolution Track must complete an experiential requirement (minimum 4 credits), which may be satisfied by one of four clinics or an ADR or other approved externship. Students may complete the experiential component during their second or third years. In the discretion of the Faculty Director, the experiential requirement can also be satisfied by extensive work experience in conflict resolution.

    • Clinics

      Currently, students have the option of four different clinics that qualify for the Dispute Resolution Track (another agricultural mediation course is under development):

      • Mediation Clinic (4 credits Fall/4 credits Spring)

        In this year-long clinic, students learn and practice mediation skills in the role of the mediator in court-based cases and in Baltimore City schools. Students who complete the Mediation Clinic receive training and experience that qualifies them to apply to be a court-approved mediator for the District Court of Maryland ADR Program.

      • Civil Rights of Persons with Disabilities Clinic (4 credits Fall/4 credits Spring; sometimes offered as one semester clinic)

        In this clinic, students learn to represent clients in mediations concerning disability discrimination matters. Students also learn to negotiate potential settlements of disability discrimination claims.

      • Environmental Law Clinic (4 credits Fall/4 credits Spring)

        Students in the Environmental Law Clinic study and practice a range of dispute resolution strategies to address environmental issues, including negotiation with competing stakeholders and regulatory bodies, policy advocacy, and/or complex civil litigation.

      • Youth, Education and Justice Legal Theory and Practice (one semester, 7 credits)

        Students in this LTP attend a one-day training with Mediation Clinic students, learn about restorative justice, engage in policy advocacy around school discipline and restorative justice, and work on school conflict resolution education initiatives in Baltimore City schools.

    • Externships

      The experiential requirement may also be satisfied through an ADR externship or other approved externship in which the student gains extensive conflict resolution experience.

      A rich array of ADR experiential opportunities exist at Maryland Carey Law. The Maryland Judiciary is an international leader in court-based dispute resolution processes. Our proximity to Washington, D.C. offers students externship opportunities with federal agency ADR programs and international organizations. In the past, students have completed ADR Externships with:

      • Judicial programs (e.g., District Court of Maryland ADR Program; Maryland Court of Special Appeals ADR Office; Maryland Judiciary Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office; District of Columbia Multi-Door Program);
      • Federal agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health; United States Department of State);
      • Civil rights agencies (e.g., Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission);
      • International organizations (Mediators Beyond Borders; American Society for International Law) and
      • State agencies (e.g., Maryland Governor’s Office of Business Ombudsman Maryland;  Office of the Attorney General–Consumer Protection Division).

      Other specialty externships (public interest, international, environmental, health, business, Asper/judicial) may qualify for the Dispute Resolution Track experiential requirement upon prior approval by the program’s Faculty Director.

      Students may fulfill the minimum four-credit requirement through completion of an externship for three or more credits, plus the one-credit ADR Externship Workshop. All externships must satisfy the law school’s general externship requirements.

  4. Writing Requirement

    To complete the Dispute Resolution Track, students must write a paper of at least fifteen pages on a topic related to dispute resolution. Most students will fulfill this requirement through the paper written for the Conflict Resolution and the Law Seminar. In the unlikely event that the writing requirement is not satisfied in the seminar, a student may satisfy the writing requirement through another seminar, independent written work, or ADR writing competition. The paper must receive a grade of B or higher. The Faculty Director must review and approve all papers not written as part of a course.

Track Completion

Students must apply for the Track by the Fall semester of their third year. Upon successful completion of the Dispute Resolution Track, the Faculty Director and Associate Director will prepare a personalized Letter of Completion to accompany the student’s transcript, which will describe how the student completed the track’s requirements and highlight the unique academic learning, skill set, and professional experience gained by the student that will support them in their future career.

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved