To be an effective lawyer today, it is vital to be well versed in dispute resolution processes other than litigation. Most cases do not even see the inside of the courtroom. More and more disputes are being resolved through the use of mediation, in which a neutral third party assists disputants in their pursuit of a just outcome.
Moritz’s mediation clinic, which began in 1983, is one of the oldest and most renowned law school clinics. Through classroom lectures, discussions, and exercises, and live clinical experiences, students in the Mediation Practicum and the Multiparty Mediation Practicum learn how to become effective mediators, while also studying key issues involving methods, different types of mediation, and the state of the law and mediation.
In the classroom, students study the legal, ethical, and policy issues that have emerged with the increased use of mediation and other facilitation processes for the resolution of disputes. After receiving extensive mediation skills training, students mediate disputes at the Franklin County Municipal Court in various Small Claims matters and as part of the City Attorney’s Prosecution Resources Unit Mediation Program. Each semester, Moritz students mediate between 50 and 100 cases and help over 60% of the disputing parties resolve their disputes.
Moritz professors apply their practical experience and numerous scholarly contributions in the ADR field to the practicum courses. Professors Sarah Cole, Nancy Rogers, Josh Stulberg, Ellen Deason, and Amy Cohen take turns teaching the semester long course along with a clinical staff attorney, Moritz’s Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution.
Students participating in either course meet twice a week for class and must have at least one afternoon and evening available (excluding Fridays) for clinic activity. Students are also required to attend the mandatory mediation skills weekend training session held at the beginning of each semester. This training includes lecture, discussion, and exercises covering the steps of a mediation and the skills a mediator uses during the process. The topics covered include: delivering an effective opening statement, acknowledging and restating parties’ statements, framing issues for negotiation, caucusing, and gathering information to help parties generate movement. The training includes role play sessions where the students take turns mediating as a professional mediator from the Columbus area observes and then provides feedback.