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Much of legal education centers on the trial and appellate processes, yet fewer than 2 percent of all filed cases (both criminal and civil) go to trial, and only a small fraction of those cases are appealed. Instead, most cases are resolved before trial, and many disputes are resolved before a lawsuit is filed or are prevented entirely. Accordingly, as part of a quality legal education, students must have the opportunity to develop expertise in the processes through which most disputes are resolved: negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
The Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center focuses on the problem-solving methods and skills that lawyers and other conflict resolution professionals employ regularly to prevent and resolve disputes. Through research, teaching, and service, the Lodestar Center advances the understanding of these methods and promotes the skills necessary to resolve disputes effectively and efficiently. The Center expands the College of Law’s efforts to advance the understanding of the nature of conflict resolution and how the characteristics of conflict impact the effectiveness of dispute resolution. Examples of how the Center does this include the Bruce E. Meyerson Lecture in Dispute Resolution and the Les Schiefelbein Conference in International Dispute Resolution.
The Lodestar Center is a 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 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ADR in Education Award) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (with three CPR Awards – two for Outstanding Professional Article, one to Dr. Roselle Wissler and another to Prof. 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 US News & World Report “Best Graduate School” rankings and was ranked 7th in 2019.
Besides the courses listed below, students have access to externships at the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ADR Office and the Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Restorative Justice Project. Additionally, students can receive invaluable training by participating in two dispute resolution oriented advocacy competitions: the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, in which student teams work through the mediation process to further their client’s interests, and the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration (East) Moot (Vis Moot) where students argue issues relating to international transactions.
The following classes, all upper level J.D. courses, provide students with a solid grounding in various areas of dispute resolution and an opportunity to develop practical skills.