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Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center

Legal education often centers on the trial and appellate process. However, only a small fraction of cases ever go to trial in the United States. For example, the Arizona Supreme Court reports that in 2017, of nearly 2 million civil and criminal cases filed in Arizona courts, 99.2 percent were resolved prior to trial. The Lodestar Center provides opportunities to develop expertise in the processes through which most legal matters are resolved: negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

The Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center expands ASU Law’s efforts to understand the nature of conflict and its impact on the effectiveness of dispute resolution. Through research, teaching, and service, students, lawyers, and non-legal professionals learn the problem-solving methods and skills that lawyers and other conflict resolution professionals employ regularly to prevent and resolve disputes.

Our judicial system is not a system of trials but a system of alternative means of resolution.

The Lodestar Center is a nationally recognized center of excellence in the field of dispute resolution. Its efforts in teaching, scholarship, and service have been recognized by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (with the inaugural Ninth Circuit ADR Education Award in 2005 and again in 2019) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (with four CPR Awards – two for Outstanding Professional Article, one to Research Director Dr. Roselle Wissler and another to Faculty Director Professor Art Hinshaw, one for Professional Achievement, Foreclosure Mediation Unit, and the 2022 Outstanding Book Award for Discussions in Dispute Resolution: The Foundational Articles). The Lodestar Center is consistently ranked highly nationally among law school dispute resolution programs by U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate School” rankings and is currently ranked No.11 in the nation.

Student opportunities

The Lodestar Center’s primary focus is to educate as many students as possible in dispute resolution theory, skills, and practice. Besides the courses listed below, students have access to externships at the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ADR Office, the Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Restorative Justice Project, and the Aurit Mediation Center. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of these additional programs and opportunities:

Lodestar Mediation Clinic

The Lodestar Mediation Clinic teaches students about alternatives to litigation while providing hands-on experience with the mediation process. Students begin the class with an intensive training program focusing on the theory, strategy, and skills involved in mediating legal disputes to provide the grounding to act as mediators for Justice Court litigants in an attempt to resolve civil cases before trial. Additionally, students co-mediate with professional mediators at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and shadow judges in judicial settlement conferences.

The Patel - Dauber Excellence in Negotiation Prize

This award, made possible by the generosity of alum Nick M. Patel (’92), honors ASU law students who have demonstrated excellence in negotiation during their time at the law school. The award commemorates Patel’s belief that negotiation is a critical skill for students to learn and Emeritus Professor Bob Dauber’s role in shaping Patel’s success as a negotiator.

Moot Court Competition Teams

Students can receive invaluable training by participating on teams for two high-profile competitions – the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition and the William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot). Students in the Representation in Mediation Competition work through the mediation process to further their client’s interests. Our Vis Moot teams represent business organizations through the international commercial arbitration process, engaging in both written and oral advocacy. They have regularly competed in San Diego, Vienna, and Hong Kong and are routinely recognized for their brief writing and advocacy skills. Be on the lookout for information announcing these competitions.

Dispute Resolution Student Association (DRSA)

Students interested in informal or alternative dispute resolution are encouraged to join the DRSA. Get access to distinguished dispute resolution professionals through regular speaking and networking events, and get to know your peers who share an interest in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and other informal resolution methods.

Schiefelbein Global Dispute Resolution Scholarship

This annual scholarship recognizes demonstrated excellence in and engagement with international dispute resolution and ASU Law's Alternative Dispute Resolution program. A generous endowment from Les and Linda Schiefelbein makes this scholarship possible. Les Schiefelbein is an ASU Law alum ('72) and internationally recognized arbitrator with over 40 years of experience in complex commercial and government disputes.

Apply to the Schiefelbein Scholarship

Upcoming events

Disrupting Eviction
April 12, 2024 from 12 - 1:30 p.m. via Zoom

40-Hour Family Mediation Training
May 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
May 15 and 22 at 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
In-person at Beus Center for Law and Society, room TBA

Sample coursework

  • Arbitration
  • Contract Drafting and Negotiating
  • Dispute Resolution in Employment
  • Dispute Resolution Survey
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Lodestar Mediation Clinic
  • Mediation Advocacy
  • Negotiation
  • Negotiation in Sports Law

MLS Conflict Resolution

Conflict is everywhere. The best leaders know how to manage and resolve conflicts before they become major distractions or create negative consequences. Having the right perspective and effective problem-solving skills will make you an indispensable leader in your company and community.

The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University's Master of Legal Studies, with an emphasis in Conflict Resolution, is designed to provide professionals with the skills and knowledge to effectively navigate conflict in various circumstances and environments.

Taught by experienced faculty and professionals, this program will provide you with a background in legal principles and analysis to lay the foundation for practical problem-solving strategies and conflict resolution techniques.

Learn more

Signature events

The Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center engages the community through high quality events and training programs for lawyers and other professionals who work with conflict. These events and programs provide world-class educational experiences and many qualify for continuing education credit.

March 11, 2024
Bruce E. Meyerson

Bruce E. Meyerson Lecture

The Bruce E. Meyerson Lecture brings renowned personalities and dispute resolution professionals to ASU Law to address students, attorneys, and the public. Past lecturers include Kenneth Feinberg (oversaw the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Boston Marathon bombing victims fund, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims settlement fund, among others), who spoke about unconventional responses to unique catastrophes, and David Boies (litigated such high-profile cases as Bush v. Gore, California’s Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage, and U.S. v. Microsoft), who explained the ways mediation and dispute resolution have changed litigation practice. These insightful lectures are open to the public and made available online.

January 11, 2024
international arbitrator Les Schiefelbein

Schiefelbein Global Dispute Resolution Conference

The annual Schiefelbein Global Dispute Resolution Conference brings together arbitrators, mediators, academic and other professionals from across the world to discuss international disputes in global commerce, international arbitration, innovation, and more. This year’s topics will include: International Entertainment Disputes, Crisis Negotiation, International Supply Chain Disputes, and the Future of International Arbitration. Read more about our friend, partner, and international arbitrator Les Schiefelbein in the Kluwer Arbitration Blog.