Senior Seminar-ADR Issues
Law 590-3, Section 201
Suzanne Schmitz


I am pleased that you have enrolled in the ADR seminar this summer. Attached is a detailed description and schedule for the seminar. Prior to June 4, you must have read Settling Disputes, 2d edition, by Linda R. Singer, and selected chapters in Scholarly Writing for Law Students. Please read over the assignments and schedule carefully so that you are fully aware of the deadlines for the various assignments. See memo which will issue by April 30 regarding students assigned to lead discussions June 4-8 . This seminar is open to students with or without a background in ADR.

The Senior Writing Seminar offers you the opportunity to engage in intensive research and analysis with respect to a particular legal topic that interests you, and to produce from that research and analysis a substantial paper of publishable quality. Seldom will you again have the chance to devote a substantial block of time to the intensive study and analysis of a particular topic that interests you. Further, you have the opportunity to synthesize much of the knowledge you have gained in the past two years in law school and to reflect on important and interesting issues in a way that the day-to-day practice of law rarely permits.

A. Reading Assignments: By June 4, everyone is to read chapters 1 and 2 of Settling Disputes, 2d edition by Linda R. Singer, and chapter 1 of Scholarly Writing for Law Students, 2d edition, by Fajans and Falk and any other readings, distributed. Check the attached schedule for further reading assignments.

The Singer book will provide background for those of you not familiar with ADR and will offer context for our future discussions about ADR issues and help you define your research paper topic.

B. Written Assignments: Note the several written assignments required during the semester. The key written component, your paper, should be in the nature of a law review article. If you are unfamiliar with law review articles, begin by reading chapter one of Scholarly Writing for Law Students, then review several law journal issues to get a "flavor" for such articles. Also consult Law Journal Handbook, SIU School of Law, August 1995, on reserve.

Your paper should have a topic that is original, provide comprehensive coverage of the issue, argue in a way that is logical, and offer some commentary that is evaluative, critical, and analytic. It should not be solely a review of the law. At least three pages should be devoted to your analysis, thoughts, and conclusions. It should be written in a way that is clear and readable. See the outline attached as an example of how to structure a seminar paper.

The length of the paper should be between 25 and 45 pages (excluding endnotes). You should use endnotes as opposed to footnotes, with the endnotes following the format of Scholarly Writing, ch. 6 and the citators. The paper be supported by appropriate references to authorities.

Your seminar paper and all other written assignments should be typed or computer-generated, doubled spaced in 12 point font or the equivalent, on 8˝ by 11" paper with 1" margins all around. Do not use erasable paper. Keep a copy of all materials submitted.

Use standard style, grammar, punctuation and spelling. In case of dispute, it will be your responsibility to show me the relevant rule and I will accept the following:

A Uniform System of Citation (Harvard Citator or Bluebook 17th ed.)

AWLD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation

Scholarly Writing for Law Students, 2d edition

Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, latest edition.

C. Topic: Try to select a topic broad enough that there is literature to be researched and narrow enough that you can comprehensively address the topic in 25 or so pages. Students often encounter difficulty in preparing seminar papers because they lack focus or because the topic they have selected is simply too broad. Your paper should be a critical analysis and evaluation of a problem or issue with some original ideas about its resolution, rather than simply a survey and summary of the law in a particular area.

You may choose an ADR topic related to a field of interest to you. I have prepared the attached list of some general areas that may inspire you; these are only examples. Pick a topic or area that interests you.

Further, I recommend that if possible, you think across disciplines. E.g., you may want to draw on psychological research in discussing negotiation or mediation strategies. You may want to examine sociological research concerning mediating with different cultures. You may want to incorporate empirical research about mandatory court-annexed arbitration programs.

Consult Scholarly Writing for Law Students, chapter two, in choosing your topic.

D. Research: To be most persuasive, use primary sources - cases, statutes, regulations, empirical studies, rather than secondary sources - articles. Before going "on-line for research," try reviewing textbooks, newsletters, law and bar journals and on-line discussion groups for "hot" topics. Consult practitioners in the field. Maintain notes from your interviews and cite as a telephone interview. Of course, you need a thorough grounding in the field before consulting practitioners.

E. Grading: Each assignment must be satisfactorily completed and timely submitted. There will be a deduction in the final grade for any late submission, even if the assignment is not graded. If an assignment is not completed in a satisfactory fashion, a student may be required to redo it in whole or in part. The following factors will be the primary ones considered in grading: originality of thesis; choice of topic that is timely; quality and thoroughness of research; coherency of argument; organization; clarity of expression; grammar, spelling; punctuation; and citation form. The graded assignments upon which your course grade will be calculated and their relative weight in the grading process are as follows:

Assignment Percentage of Grade
First Draft 35%
Class Presentations
and Participation
Final Draft 40%

F. Completion of Assignments and Class Attendance: As lawyers, many demands will be placed upon your time, with many people, including clients, other lawyers, and judges, expecting to receive your work in a timely fashion. I will grant extensions rarely, only in cases of extreme hardship and then only requested prior to the due date of the assignment, if feasible.

Further I expect each of you to attend all scheduled seminar class meetings. Since we have several class days off, no absences will be allowed during the week of June 4 or on the date when you are to make a presentation. Any other absence is limited to one and must be arranged in advance, if feasible. An absence from a scheduled class will result in a reduction in your final course grade. If you cannot attend scheduled class sessions, please drop this class.

G. Class Discussion and Participation: During the week of June 4, you will be the discussion leader for some of the material. Everyone should come to class prepared to participate in the discussion.

As discussion leader, you should be prepared to present a 15 minute summary of the assigned materials, in an interesting fashion. You should also identify at least three issues which might be the topic of a seminar paper. See the memo attached for class discussion assignments. Note that participation in these classes and in the presentation below constitutes 25% of the class grade.

You are also expected to contribute to the discussions and presentations by comments and questions that are relevant and that advance the discussion. Comments more appropriate to the lunchroom or talk radio shows will not be considered as those that advance the discussion.

H. Presentations of Papers: During the last part of July, you of each will make a formal oral presentation concerning your paper. You will receive a schedule later.

I. Sources:

Here are several excellent journals on ADR issues:

There are on-line sources, including:

Professional organizations’ web sites:

Private web site:

University linked web sites:

Finally, journals and newsletters in specific substantive areas such as ABA’s Family Advocate or Business Law Today often raise issues related to ADR.

J. Consultations: I will be available to you for individual consultations as much possible. The best times to reach me usually are: Tuesday - Thursday, 9-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m. To be safe, schedule an appointment in advance with Carol Manis in Room 114. You may e-mail me at



I. WEEK ONE (June 4-8)
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Room 103
June 4 Singer, ch. 1 & 2
Fajan, ch. 1 & 2
June 5:
Student led discussions
Singer, ch. 3 & 6
June 6 Singer, ch. 4 & 5
Fajan, ch. 3
June 7 Singer, ch. 7
June 8 Singer, ch. 8
Fajan, ch. 6
II. WEEK TWO (June 15)
Topic Statement due
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
We will discuss the topic statements, share ideas with each other, and discuss preparation of the outline.
Outline due
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
We will discuss problems and progress.
IV. WEEK FOUR (June 29) No class.
Three pages of text due
I will critique and return to you as soon as possible, both as to your reasoning and your writing.

Individual consultations. You will meet individually with me during the week of June 29 through July 6 concerning your paper.

V. WEEK FIVE (July 6) No class.
July 9: First draft due
First draft is due July 9, by 4:30 p.m. This should be in the best form you can produce. It is not a rough draft. This draft constitutes 35% of your grade.
VI. WEEK SIX (July 13)
Consult schedule to be posted of presentations.
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.**
**We meet a little longer or start earlier on these three dates.
Consult schedule to be posted of presentations.
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.**
**We meet a little longer or start earlier on these three dates.
Consult schedule to be posted of presentations.
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.**
We will hear presentations from you -- along with class participation, 25%.

**We meet a little longer or start earlier on these three dates.

IX. WEEK NINE (July 30)
Final draft due40% of your grade.

Sample Topic Statements

This paper will demonstrate that arbitration of civil rights claims comports with the requirements due process.

This topic is timely given the debate in legal profession as to the meaning of Gilmer and the fears within the civil rights community that claimants will lose significant rights.

In Gilmer (give full cite) the U.S. Supreme Court required a plaintiff to arbitrate an age discrimination claim because he signed an agreement to arbitrate all disputes with his employer as a requirement to be broker registered with the NYSE. The court required the claimant to arbitrate even though the statute gave him a right to a jury be analyzed trial. Since Gilmer, many groups have boycotted private services because they believed the rules were unfair. I will study the AAA rules and compare them to the basic requirements of due process as defined in Mathews v. Eldridge and later cases. I will show that plaintiffs receive adequate protections in arbitration.

So far I have read Gilmer, Eldridge, AAA rules, and these two articles critiquing the use of arbitration in employment discrimination cases:

1) (You would list)


Sample of the Structure of a Seminar Paper

I. Introduction – states thesis of the paper

Provides a roadmap as to what is ahead

II. Background – provides the background for understanding why there is a problem

May include statutory or regulatory scheme; explain what is the ADR process involved; review case law; etc.

III. Problem – explains what the problem is, building on the background in Part II

IV. Proposed solution – explains how problem might be solved

V. Conclusion – summarizes the problem and the solution and spurs the reader to respond

Copyright 2003 Suzanne Schmitz. 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.