Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Washington University School of Law is a leader in negotiation and dispute resolution education. Our systematic progression of ADR courses, clinics, seminars, and competitions prepares graduates to enter the legal profession as effective and skilled negotiators, mediators, arbitrators, diplomats, ombudspersons, practitioners, policymakers, and business leaders in local, national, and international arenas.

New First-Year Negotiation Course

Recognizing that lawyers must be versed and skilled in negotiation, problem-solving, collaboration, creative conflict resolution, and dispute resolution to practice successfully in today’s world, Washington University is one of the few law schools in the country to provide an introductory Negotiation course for all law students. This required one-week course taught by full-time faculty is designed to introduce first-year students to negotiation theory and practice; enhance their understanding of professional identity, judgment, and ethics; and lay a foundation for learning in upper-level doctrinal, dispute resolution, trial advocacy, and clinical courses.  Washington University also has offered intramural Client Counseling and Negotiation Skills Competitions for first-year students for more than 25 years to introduce them to these fundamental lawyering skills. 

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Curriculum  

Our negotiation and dispute resolution curriculum spans a rich array of negotiation and dispute resolution courses, many of which are offered in multiple sections. The curriculum includes the required introductory first-level course; second-level theory and practice classes (also known as bridge courses); and third-level capstone courses involving in-depth research in the field and real-world practice experiences.    

Our courses are designed to provide opportunities for students to learn, experience, and reflect upon the theoretical, professional, and ethical dimensions of negotiation and dispute resolution with instruction from highly qualified full-time and adjunct faculty. More than 90 percent of our recent graduates took at least one ADR course; more than 60 percent took two or more courses; 30 percent, three or more; and 10 percent, four or more.  

First-level introductory courses  

  • Negotiation—required course for all first-year law students  
  • Introduction to U.S. & Comparative ADR Processes—2 sections/years 

Second-level theory & practice courses  

  • Pretrial Practice & Settlement—14 sections/year 
  • Mediation Theory & Practice—7 sections/year 
  • Family Mediation Theory & Practice 
  • Negotiation Theory & Practice 
  • Business Negotiation Theory & Practice—2 sections/year 
  • Business Planning & Drafting: Fundamentals of M&A Transactions 
  • Arbitration Theory & Practice  
  • Entertainment Law: Planning, Drafting & Negotiation 
  • International Commercial Arbitration 
  • Securities Law: Litigation & Arbitration 
  • Sports Law: Planning, Drafting & Negotiation 

Third-level capstone courses  

  • Advanced Mediation & ADR Processes (includes practicum at the BBB) 
  • Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic—2 sections/year 
  • International Justice & Conflict Resolution Field Placement —2 sections/year 
  • Advanced Negotiation Theory Seminar  
  • Game Theory & the Law Seminar  
  • ABA Negotiation Competition 
  • ABA Representation in Mediation Competition 

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Faculty & Scholarship 

Our distinguished faculty members who teach, write, or practice in the field of dispute resolution include: Professor Karen Tokarz, director of the Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program; Dean Kent Syverud; Professor Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff;  Professor Leila Nadya Sadat,  director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute; Professor of Practice Ann Shields, director of the Pretrial Program; Senior Lecturer C.J. Larkin, administrative director of the Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program; and Associate Dean Janet Laybold.   

With expertise in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, our adjuncts include top local practitioners: Leonard Frankel, attorney and mediator with Frankel, Rubin, Bond, Dubin, Siegel & Klein PC; Alan Freed, attorney and mediator with Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal PC; Michael Geigerman, managing director of U.S. Arbitration & Mediation Midwest Inc.; Robert Litz, arbitrator and mediator with Textron; James W. Reeves, principal with Conflict Management Systems; Joseph Soraghan, arbitrator and mediator for the National Association  of Securities Dealers Inc. and principal at Danna McKitrick PC; and Kathleen Whitby, of counsel at Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP. 

Our faculty members produce and generate influential scholarship in the field. Professor Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff, a recognized expert in law and psychology, is the author of cutting-edge articles on procedural justice, including “The Psychology of Procedural Justice in the Federal Courts,” 63 Hastings Law Journal  127 (2011), and “Procedural Justice and the Rule of Law: Fostering Legitimacy in Alternative Dispute Resolution” (with Tom R. Tyler), 2011 Journal of Dispute Resolution 1.  Her article “Just Negotiation,” 88 Washington University Law Review 381 (2010), was selected for presentation at the 2009 Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum as the best paper in the Dispute Resolution category.  Professor Karen Tokarz recently published “Advancing Social Justice Through ADR and Clinical Legal Education in India, South Africa, and the U.S.” in The Global Clinical Movement (ed. Frank Block, Oxford University Press, 2011). The Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program also hosts bi-annual scholarship workshops in conjunction with the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy. Papers from the fall 2009 roundtable, focusing on New Directions in ADR & Clinical Education, are published here. Papers from the fall 2011 roundtable, focusing on New Directions in Negotiation & ADR, will be published in fall 2012.   

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Experiential Learning Opportunities 

Upper-level students may participate in clinics, internships, and lawyering skills competitions in negotiation and dispute resolution. Students in the Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic have opportunities to engage in dispute resolution, including housing court mediations and mortgage foreclosure negotiations, in the St. Louis community. Students in the Advanced Mediation & ADR Processes undertake consumer mediations at the local Better Business Bureau. In the International Justice & Conflict Resolution Field Placement, students learn dispute resolution through full-semester internships in venues such as The Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, under the supervision of Professors Karen Tokarz and Leila Nadya Sadat. Students also can intern in the field through the Africa Public Interest Law & Conflict Resolution Initiative, which places students in 10-week summer internships with agencies and courts such as the International Labour Organization and the Ghana Supreme Court ADR Programme. 

For more information about competitions, post-graduate stipends, trainings, CLEs, and speakers, please see the Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program.