Alternative Dispute Resolution
Spring 2005

Professor: Kelly Browe Olson  
Clinic Office 105 M 9:50 – 11:50 am
Phone: (501) 324-9452 Room 321

Course Objectives

(1) To increase your understanding of dispute resolution theory and practice including the distinctive practical and ethical issues of negotiation, arbitration and mediation;

(2) To increase your awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of various dispute resolution procedures and knowledge of how to counsel your clients on the best process for their dispute; and

(3) To teach you about how to creatively solve problems, design dispute resolution processes and resolve disputes.

This course will focus on the theory and practice of appropriate dispute resolution and discuss resolution techniques that may be used in a variety of legal, administrative or other proceedings.  There will be multiple simulations, but this is not a skills course.

Course Overview

This course will include lectures, discussion, and simulation exercises.  Throughout the course you will be asked to read about a process, participate in or evaluate some form of that process (as a disputant or a third party neutral or third party representative) and then to consider the legal, policy, and legal implications of use of that process. Your grade will be based on class participation, a mid-term short paper, and a final examination or long paper with the instructor’s approval.

This course will introduce you to the major dispute resolution processes used in both private and public sectors. Throughout the course you will be asked to consider what the purpose of a particular process is, where it comes from (historically), how it relates to the formal adjudication system, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and who should decide whether it  should be used (client, attorney, judge, other public official, or the general public).

Course Requirements

1. 15% Attendance, preparation and participation. Students are expected to attend class, and to be on time.  If you miss more than six class hours your grade will automatically drop by one degree.  Each hour of class counts.  While an excused absence will count against the total, if you give me notice about the absence BEFORE it happens, it will not count against your class participation grade.  You should come to class prepared to discuss all of the cases, articles and other content in the text and to participate in the role play.  Students are expected to volunteer in class, but will be called on if there are no volunteers.  The quality, not quantity, of class participation is important.  If a student is not prepared to participate in the discussion intelligently, I may consider that student absent from class.

20% Project or Paper.  The paper should be 6-8 pages long, in a 12-point font, one-inch margins on each page, double-spaced.  Your topics are due by February 11th. Your paper or project will be presented to the class in April.  The final version must be turned in by April 25, 2004.  You may come up with your own topic, or take a topic from the list I hand out.


65% Final Exam.  The exam in this class will be a take home exam.  You will have 48 hours, during the exam period, to complete the exam and turn it in at the clinic.  You will need to pick up and drop off the exam between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, between May 3rd and May 12th.  It must be turned in, in person in the clinic by May 13th at 4 pm. to receive credit.  Students may opt to do a research paper on a mediation related topic, in lieu of the final, with the permission of the instructor.

Required Reading  


Dispute Resolution: Beyond the Adversarial Model (Menkel-Meadow, Love, Schneider and Sternlight)               

Getting to Yes (Fisher and Ury)

Class discussion will inevitably cover some but not all of the material in the readings.  If you have questions about the readings, feel free to raise those questions, preferably in class or with me privately.  Each week I will assign several questions from the next chapter to a couple of students.  Every student should be prepared, but these students may be asked to lead the discussion. 

Session Topic Assignment Exercise/Film
1/24 Introduction Chapter 1 Neg-Med-Arb Exercise
1/31 Negotiation: Models

Chapter 2

The Negotiator or Alternative Singer’s Contract
2/7 Negotiation: Practice

Chapter 3

In re Gale, Negotiation Plans
2/14 Negotiation: Ethics & Policy

Chapter 4

Who Did It?, Lake Drive
2/21 Mediation: Models

Chapter 5

Videos, Exercises
Paper topic due
2/28 Mediation: Practice

Chapter 6

Prosanto, Hemlocks
3/7 Mediation: Ethics, Policy

Chapter 7

3/14 Arbitration: Law

Chapter 8

Glorious, Apartment
3/21 Arbitration: Policy, Practice

Chapters 9, 10

Genevieve, Bountiful
Drafting Clause Ex.
3/28 Spring Break


4/4 Multi-Party Processes

Chapter 12

Mental Health and High School
Role Plays
4/11 Hybrid Processes

Chapters 11

Media examples
4/18 Planning for Dispute Resolution

Chapter 13

Adventures, Inc.
Paper discussions
4/25 Thinking Critically & Counseling Clients

Chapters 15, 16

Paper discussions
5/2 Last class    


You may choose either Paper # 1 (Comparative ADR—an analysis of two or three films, tv shows or articles on dispute resolution used in other cultures) or Paper # (Critiques of ADR—see questions at beginning of chapter 15 of the text) as your short paper. The paper should be about 6-8 double-spaced pages.

For those who want to do a longer research paper (20 – 25 pages) on a topic on ADR, in lieu of the final examination please see me by February  for approval.

You will have a take home exam.  You will have 48 hours to complete the exam.  The exam may be taken only during the exam period.  You will need to arrange to pick up and drop off the exam with the Clinic Office Manager Jerre Jones between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. in the legal clinic.  It must be dropped off by 4:00 pm on May 19th in order to receive credit.  If you have been given approval for a final paper, it is due by Thursday May 5th.

Copyright 2005 Kelly Browe Olson. Teachers are free to copy these materials for educational use in their courses only, provided that appropriate acknowledgment of the author is made. For permission to use these materials for any other purpose, contact the author.