OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

Moritz College of Law

Moritz Home Page

Moritz College of Law

Moritz College of Law


Moritz Law  /  Areas of Study  /  Alternative Dispute Resolution  /  Course Sampling

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution Course Offerings

The following courses are electives that are offered at the Moritz College of Law. Not all courses are offered every semester. (See 2012-13 Offerings)

Advanced Issues in Dispute Resolution

3 credit hours
In this course, you will learn about dispute system design and apply what you have learned to consult with government and non-profit entities that seek to design or revise dispute resolution systems. The course resembles a clinic in the sense that the work will depend on the needs of these clients but differs because we will not provide legal representation. Students will have in-class assignments as well as memos and other work products for these entities seeking our assistance. (See an example of a past class project done to assist the Supreme Court of Ohio Dispute Resolution Program). Past classes or individual students within a class designed a curriculum in cross-cultural negotiation for Air Force officers, proposed a model mediation program for Ohio administrative agencies, helped to design and drafted a proposal to fund a mediation program for a Common Pleas Court, and wrote a manual on mediation of issues related to children and families for Ohio courts.

The course will meet the Advanced Studies requirement for the Dispute Resolution Certificate and the second writing requirement; it does not meet the seminar requirement unless special arrangements are made with the instructor to structure the work differently. The course is open to 3Ls who have taken at least one dispute resolution course and others by instructor permission. The course is scheduled over the year to accommodate the need to help a client over a longer period, although no class sessions are scheduled for spring semester. If there are special needs to earn all 3 credit hours during fall semester, please contact the instructor for permission to do so.

Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Workplace – Seminar

2 credit hours
This seminar will focus on the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution in the context of the workplace, including arbitration and mediation. Issues involving both labor arbitration and arbitration of individual employee disputes will be addressed, as will issues relevant to the mediation of employment disputes.

Commercial and Labor Arbitration

2 or 3 credit hours
In this course, students will learn about the law and practice of commercial and labor arbitration. Although business people and labor-management representatives commonly contract to resolve disputes using arbitration, different legal and practical rules apply to each type of arbitration. Legal, industry and ethical rules governing these kinds of arbitration will be discussed in the course. In addition, students will gain practical experience in the arbitration process: drafting an arbitration agreement as well as participating in arbitration hearings as both an advocate and an arbitrator. Students will also learn how to write a post-hearing arbitration brief. The course satisfies the second writing requirement and has limited enrollment.

Comparative Dispute Resolution

3 credit hours
This course examines methods of dispute resolution used domestically in other countries and compares them to those employed in the United States. We will explore how differences in culture, religion, history, and legal institutions affect the way people resolve conflicts. We will also consider how such factors are influencing the development of dispute resolution systems as alternatives to domestic court systems. Readings will include materials on cultural differences in conflict resolution and case studies on practices and developments in particular countries and regions. Just as one's understanding of English deepens as a result of studying a foreign language, one goal for the course is that by studying other approaches to dispute resolution, students will discover a fresh perspective on its practice and role in the United States.

Dispute Resolution Processes: Theory & Practice

3 credit hours
This dispute resolution course familiarizes students with the theory and practice of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, mini-trials, and other settlement processes, and with the law that governs them. Students develop skills in these processes through simulation exercises, demonstrations, discussions, and videotapes. The course is distinct from other dispute resolution course offerings in that it emphasizes lawyers’ roles in representing clients: as a counselor – helping clients decide on appropriate approaches to resolving disputes and planning for them in structuring business relationships – and as an advocate – representing clients in dispute resolution processes. This course is especially appropriate for students who seek an introduction to dispute resolution processes and for those interested in developing skills central to representing clients.

Dispute Systems Design

3 credit hours
This is a course to prepare you to design new forums for particular disputes and also to design, or modify, disputing systems for series of disputes. It will be like a legal clinic in the sense that you will have a client with a particular problem to solve. It will differ from most legal clinics in the sense that you will not represent the client or perform legal work for the client but instead will serve as a forum or systems designer. During the course, you will apply to practical problems what you have already learned about dispute resolution, search for new ideas for resolving challenging new disputes, and apply what designers have learned from past experience.

Ethics and ADR Seminar

2 credit hours
This course offers both a survey in professional responsibility and in-depth application of the law governing lawyers to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Grading is based on a pass/fail exam over the basic provisions of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and a substantial research paper involving a legal ethical issue as applied to the ADR context.

Inter-Ethnic Conflict Resolution Seminar

2 credit hours
The topic of this seminar is inter-ethnic conflict as it has affected maintenance of peace in various countries of the world. Students will be asked to write a single research paper. The paper may deal with a conflict in a particular country. It may deal with factors general to such conflicts. It may focus on the cause of inter-ethnic conflict, or on methods of resolution, or both. It may deal with international institutions as they have addressed ethnic conflict through peace-keeping or other methods.

International Business Arbitration

3 credit hours
The course examines the legal framework and practice of international arbitration, which is the primary means of resolving commercial disputes between parties in an international context. This is an evolving area of law that operates at the intersection of private contractual ordering, national law, and international treaties, with influences from public and private international arbitral institutions.

Topics covered include: Problems in international litigation that create motivation to arbitrate; the authority of arbitration tribunals; duties and selection of arbitrators; international arbitration procedures and the influence of national litigation systems; confirmation, setting aside, and enforcement of arbitral awards by national courts; and drafting arbitration agreements.

Students will participate in an arbitrator selection exercise and a negotiation and drafting exercise in order to explore the strategic choices involved in selecting an arbitral tribunal and creating an arbitration clause for an international commercial relationship. No background in alternative dispute resolution is required for this course.

International Dispute Resolution

3 credit hours
This course introduces students to the classic procedures for resolving international disputes. We will look at negotiation, mediation, fact-finding, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement, as well as transitional justice institutions and restorative justice approaches. Our emphasis will be on how these mechanisms operate in contemporary disputes and on how law governs their use. We will look at a range of cases and examples from boundary disputes to disputes over the use of the mechanisms themselves. The course focuses primarily on disputes that involve sovereign states and/or international organizations, but some cases we examine will concern international commercial disputes. The course also emphasizes the many new developments in this area of law and practice. For example, new systems of disputes resolution have been developed for trade disputes and maritime disputes. This focus aims to achieve a primary purpose of the course, namely, preparing students for careers in a global legal market.

Issues in Arbitration Seminar

3 credit hours
This course is an introduction to the law and practice of arbitration. Arbitration is a binding method of dispute resolution. Parties typically agree to arbitrate disputes before they know what disputes are likely to arise between them. Arbitration has historically been used primarily in labor-management disputes and commercial disputes. More recently and quite controversially, arbitration has been used to resolve statutory claims, such as employment discrimination, antitrust and RICO claims. As the use of arbitration increases, so does the controversy. This course will examine the legal and policy issues surrounding arbitration. In addition, this course will introduce students to the practice of arbitration. Students will revise an existing arbitration agreement and conduct arbitration hearings as both an advocate and arbitrator.

Law and Psychology

3 credit hours
(3 credit hours toward the Certificate in Dispute Resolution only if certain requirements met)

Law practice requires complex decision making, accurate appraisal of other people, and persuasive advocacy. Lawyers and their clients analyze disputes, decide how to structure business deals, determine when to accept offers in negotiation, evaluate the truthfulness of adversaries, and make a large number of other sophisticated decisions. When engaging in these activities, lawyers also attempt to influence the decisions of others; they try to persuade jurors, judges, opponents, business partners, legislators, and the public to favor their client's position.

Recent psychology research sheds surprising light on how people make decisions and how they can best persuade others. This course examines that research, exploring the various factors that drive human decision making and influence persuasiveness. The course applies this research to a variety of specific contexts in which lawyers serve as decision makers and advocates. By drawing upon the insights of modern cognitive science, the course prepares law graduates to enhance their decision making and advocacy in a broad number of roles. No prior training in psychology or social science research is necessary.

There is no final exam in this course. Instead, students complete several short assignments during the semester and write a final paper of approximately 10-pages on a subject of their choice.

This course may count toward the 15 credit hours required for the Certificate in Dispute Resolution. A student who completes the course and writes his or her final paper on an approved alternative dispute resolution topic will have all three credit hours count toward the certificate. A student who does not write his or her final paper on an ADR issue will earn one certificate credit hour.

Law and Social Science

2 credit hours
This course introduces the use of social science as a tool for legal analysis. The course will touch on aspects of many typical law school courses - criminal law, constitutional law, criminal procedure, and tort law - which social science research has examined. We start with the developments in American jurisprudence that legitimized the use of social science in the law. Then, we will examine the basic elements of legal methods and social science research methodology. You do not need a background in scientific methods or statistics; we will study methodology for the purpose of understanding the cases. For most of the semester, we will look at the substantive uses of social science in adjudication; how it is used: to resolve factual disputes; to make or change law, both constitutional and common law; as a general context or framework for deciding specific cases; and in planning the litigation of a case.

The Law of Disability Discrimination

4 credit hours
(2 credit hours towards the Certificate in Dispute Resolution)

This four credit course primarily covers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students interested in learning about the law of special education should take the Special Education Practicum.

This course covers employment discrimination, public entity discrimination, and public accommodation discrimination under the ADA. In addition, students will learn how to conduct an accessibility audit and mediate the results from such an audit. Students will be divided into teams and assigned buildings to audit at Ohio State University. Students will then seek to attain a voluntary resolution of the problems they discover through live negotiation with the responsible officials at OSU.

One day a week for this course will be a two hour segment in which students will learn skills related to conducting an accessibility audit and negotiation. The other two days of the course will be devoted to standard case law material. The course will count towards two credits of the Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. The enrollment is limited to twenty students.

Lawyers as Leaders

3 credit hours
For generations, lawyers and people with legal training have used their skills to reach positions of influence in all spheres of public and private life. Combining readings on leadership theory, simulation exercises, and relying extensively on case studies featuring lawyers who have become successful leaders, this course develops a descriptive and normative picture of successful leadership in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. Through the cases and exercises, students will gain experience analyzing issues, exercising judgement, and making difficult decisions – the hallmarks of skillful leadership. The objective of the course is to help students think more broadly about leadership, increase their appreciation for the variety of leadership roles people with legal training may achieve throughout their careers, and prepare for positions of leadership themselves. Students who take this course must participate in the mandatory, one-day leadership development workshop to be held on a Saturday (morning and afternoon), with the specific date to be announced on the first day of class.

This course may count toward the 15 credit hours required for the Certificate in Dispute Resolution. A student who completes the course and writes his or her final paper on an approved alternative dispute resolution topic will have all three credit hours count toward the certificate. A student who does not write his or her final paper on an ADR issue will earn one certificate credit hour. Students must check with the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, Professor Sarah Cole, or the Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution to determine if their topic qualifies them for all three credit hours."

Legal Negotiations

3 credit hours
Study of the theory, law, and practice of transactional and settlement negotiations. Selected topics include: relationship of bargaining concepts to democratic theory; adversarial versus problem-solving negotiating frameworks; distributive versus integrative negotiating issues; comparison of bargaining dynamics and advocate strategies deployed in 2-party negotiations and multi-party negotiations; representing clients in a facilitated negotiation; and ethical dilemmas for negotiators. Class structure blends large class meetings with small section format; small sections are led by adjunct professors with experience in dispute resolution. Participation in the Lawrence Negotiation Competition (Fall) is a required component of the course. Targeted simulations will occur during the scheduled class time.

Litigation and ADR Research

Litigation and ADR Research provides students with an introduction to litigation- and ADR-related materials and advanced training on the finding and utilization of these materials. Topics covered will include form books, court rules and jury instructions, arbitrator and mediator research, trial technique research, interdisciplinary resources, and other topics useful in litigation and ADR settings.

Mediation Seminar/Practicum

4 credit hours
This combined seminar and practicum provides a study of critical legal, ethical, and policy issues that have emerged with the increased use of mediation for the resolution of disputes and an opportunity to develop skills as a mediator. Each student will mediate disputes at the Franklin County Municipal Court and/or Franklin County Night Prosecutor’s Program under the supervision of the staff attorney. Students who take this course MUST have at least one afternoon available (excluding Friday) and Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening free each week for clinic activity and attend the weekend mediation training. Students will not be asked to mediate every week, but a consistent availability is necessary to schedule mediations. Each student will write and present a substantial research paper (preceded by a rough draft). Students who have taken another College of Law course in mediation may not take this course.

Middle East Conflict

2 credit hours
Seminar participants will be asked to write a single research paper on a topic relating to the Israeli-Palestinian territorial conflict, and to make an oral presentation on that topic at a meeting of the seminar. Topics may be oriented to modes of resolving the conflict, to particular manifestations of the conflict, or to the history of development of the conflict. Papers may, instead of focusing entirely on the conflict, analyze legal issues involved in the conflict, or international institutions that play a role in seeking resolution.

Multiparty Mediation Practicum

4 credit hours
This course examines the legal, ethical, and policy issues that arise when using the mediation process to resolve multi-party controversies. Students work with the professor and staff attorney as neutral interveners in the development of party engagement protocols, problem definition, and mediated negotiations for multi-party disputes. In addition to the applied work, each student must write an analytical paper that examines an important policy issue or critiques a significant work of scholarship in the field and submit several smaller writing projects. Students who take this course MUST have at least one afternoon (excluding Friday) and either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening free for clinic activity and must participate in the mandatory weekend training program, usually scheduled during one of the first two weekends of the semester.

Negotiation and Mediation Advocacy

2 credit hours, Fall Break
This course offers skills and strategies for effective negotiation and mediation advocacy emphasizing the importance of building working relationships and achieving better outcomes in individual and group negotiation and mediation. Two broad objectives have been built into the course design: to practice basic negotiation skills through interactive exercises and to familiarize the student with various strategies for dispute resolution other than resolving differences through litigation. The student will learn how to prepare effectively for negotiation and mediation, how to negotiate agreements on contentious issues and how to review a negotiation or mediation with an eye toward developing rules of thumb for what went well and for improving what might have been handled differently. Course grading will be determined by a final introspective, self-evaluative journal (67%) and class participation during the interactive exercises and their debriefing (33%)

Special Education Practicum

3 credit hours
This three credit course primarily covers the law of special education as provided in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). Students interested in learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act should take The Law of Disability Discrimination.

This course will be taught in conjunction with an attorney who practices special education law with Columbus Legal Aid, as well as in conjunction with professors in various allied health professions who specialize in assisting children with disabilities.

A primary emphasis of the class will be to teach students about the process under which students are identified as disabled and provided with Individualized Education Plans ("IEPs"). After receiving training on the IDEA and negotiation, students will be teamed with parents who are seeking assistance in developing adequate IEPs for their children. Students will not be engaged in the practice of law and will not need a third-year practice certificate to work with parents. The teams will consist of both law students and nonlaw students who have expertise in special education.

Enrollment in the class will be limited to twelve law students and eight nonlaw students who are engaging in graduate work related to special education. The course will count towards one credit of the Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

The final grade for this course will be based primarily on the student's participation at an IEP meeting and a take-home final examination (which can be taken as part of a team).

This class will only meet two hours per week but students will be required to attend a Saturday training session. They will also be required to attend an IEP meeting at some time during the semester.