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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.
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 three CPR Awards – two for Outstanding Professional Article, one to Research Director Dr. Roselle Wissler and another to Faculty Director Professor Art Hinshaw, and one for Professional Achievement, Foreclosure Mediation Unit). 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 10th in 2019.
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:
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 the mediation of 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.
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 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.
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.
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, along with effective problem-solving skills, will make you an indispensable leader with 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 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.Visit the Conflict Resolution emphasis page