Monday, April 16, 2012

Center for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Recognized Among Leading ADR Programs Nationally

UC Hastings College of the Law’s Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR) continues to rise through the rankings, coming in at No. 9 in the country according to recent results from U.S. News & World Report.

“In the nine years since it was founded,” said Acting Director Professor Melissa Nelken, “CNDR has developed into one of the leading ADR programs in the country, with a broad and innovative curriculum for JD and LLM students and exciting CLE programs that benefit lawyers around the state and around the world.”

CNDR has added programs that teach international judges and court administrators how to design and implement court-connected ADR programs. Last summer, 11 people from eight countries in Europe, Asia and North America gathered to learn how to design programs in their own countries, taking into account their legal and cultural frameworks.

This year’s applicants are from the African continent and Bhutan, as well as Europe. The program can take up to 16 individuals. Sponsorship from JAMS allows Hastings to offer a reduced registration fee to applicants.

The center has programs for U.S. professionals, including a 40-hour mediation training course open to attorneys and nonattorneys, which results in certification. CNDR also provides training to a variety of corporations and state agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, in negotiation, mediation and facilitation. Fees from those programs allow CNDR to further develop its offerings.

These programs for the global and professional community build on the clinical programs and innovative classwork that teaches negotiation and mediation skills to students. The Center offers 20 different courses, ranging from a class taught by Prof. Clark Freshman on how to detect lying to the ever-popular Negotiation and Settlement. Though 16 sections of Negotiation are offered each year, there is consistently a wait-list, said Jolynn Jones, Academic Program Coordinator at CNDR.

In their clinical work, students staff a mediation clinic at San Francisco’s Small Claims Court, and assist with mediation programs at the state’s Department of Industrial Relations. UC Hastings offers a concentration in dispute resolution for JDs, and an LLM program with a similar specialization for international students.

UC Hastings has also attracted speakers and lecturers on the cutting edge of dispute resolution. This spring a speaker series on arbitration featured professionals in sports and entertainment, securities, construction and international commercial arbitration. Last fall, mediator Laurel Kupfer spoke about Prison of Peace, a conflict-resolution training program she founded for life and long-term women prisoners in California.

“We are at ground zero for ADR,” said Jolynn Jones, CNDR Academic Program Coordinator. “Dispute resolution sprouted out of the Bay Area.”

Classroom and clinic time apparently pay off. UC Hastings students are consistently among the top five in ADR competitions nationwide, and participate in 13 competitions annually. Last year UC Hastings won the 2011 Louise Otis Award for Excellence in Mediation Education, and in 2007, the school received the Ninth Circuit Award for ADR Education.

"My experience with [Head Coach] Clint Waasted and the negotiation team has given me the ability to walk into any board room and know I have the skills to walk out with a good deal for my client, " said Lara E. Mouritsen 3L.

What Alumni Are Saying:

Competing on the negotiation and dispute resolution team and taking courses at the center for negotiation and dispute resolution at Hastings was without question the most worthwhile decision I made during my time in law school. Having access to and instruction from brilliant negotiators taught me to understand the value of lawyers not just as tools to support parties in a litigation or deal, but as facilitators to structure, provide creative alternatives and coach and assist people in finding a resolution to their issues. Not only did my experiences significantly benefit me in my legal practice, but they helped me to appreciate the true value of being a competent counselor.

-Stephanie Sheng, ‘05, Capital Market and U.S. Securities Lawyer at O'Melveny & Myers, Hong Kong

The real-world advantage a student can gain by participating in the various programs provided by the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution cannot be overstated. One of the most valuable skills a young attorney can have is the ability to think outside the box and formulate creative solutions to the problems faced by her or her clients. This is precisely the skill set that students involved with CNDR can expect to develop.”

-Adrian J. Webber, ’08, associate, Downey Brand, Sacramento

The Dispute Resolution Program at Hastings helped prepare me for "real world lawyering." From the amazing negotiation and mediation classes to the award-winning team, I felt that I was given the tools to walk into any mediation or negotiation with the tools to resolve conflict without involving the court. This has proved especially beneficial as my practice as children's counsel, where mediation and negotiation is used frequently for the benefit of avoiding litigation that could be detrimental to a child's well-being. The Dispute Resolution Program is unique in that it gave me practical skillls rather than theory-based courses that tend to be the focus in many law schools. I feel more equipped to practice law because of it.

-Maighna Jain ’07, Staff Attorney, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley

What Students Are Saying:

I've become a better listener, a better advocate, a better friend, a better contender, a better citizen, but words really cannot express the profound impact this community has had on my academic, professional, and personal paths. It should be not just a law school, but a life requirement to learn to approach dispute with interest-based reasoning; a general education requirement like science or fine arts-- since in a way, it's both of these things and more. The world would be a more compassionate place.

-Elisabeth S. Aultman, 3L

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