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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 Schiefelbein Global Dispute Resolution Forum.
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 10th in 2020.
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 Schiefelbein Global Dispute Resolution Forum, housed within the Lodestar Center, focuses on the various methods that international disputes, both in issues of private and public law, are resolved. Each year the Schiefelbein Forum hosts the International Arbitration Forum to expose both practitioners and students to the dynamic methods in which international business resolves disputes. Additionally, the Program awards the Schiefelbein Prize to a deserving student interested in international global dispute resolution.
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 in a variety of disciplines. To see the list of upcoming events and training programs click here.
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.