Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program

Professor Karen Tokarz
Professor Karen Tokarz

Washington University School of Law is a long-standing leader in negotiation and dispute resolution education. At Washington University, we believe that lawyers must be versed in negotiation, problem-solving, collaboration, and creative dispute resolution to practice successfully in today’s world. 

Washington University’s innovative Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program is directed by Karen Tokarz, Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law and Public Service, an expert in dispute resolution and clinical education, and respected civil rights mediator, who regularly teaches courses in Negotiation and Mediation. In addition to Tokarz, the faculty includes Professor Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff, a nationally recognized scholar on procedural justice and law and psychology in the context of dispute resolution, who teaches Negotiation, Advanced Negotiation, and Law & Psychology; Professor Ann Shields, a former civil litigator, who teaches Negotiation and coordinates the Pretrial Practice & Settlement course; and other full-time and part-time faculty members with expertise in negotiation, arbitration, mediation, business, economics, game theory, and international human rights. [view Faculty]

Professor Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff
Professor Rebecca Hollander-Blumoff

Washington University provides an introductory Negotiation course for all first-year law students—one of the few law schools in the country to provide this opportunity. This required intersession course, taught by full-time faculty, introduces first-year students to negotiation theory and practice while enhancing their understanding of professional identity, judgment, and ethics. “Negotiating is a key skill for lawyers in almost every area of practice,” Hollander-Blumoff says. “By teaching students to approach negotiation through careful, critical analysis, we provide them with a skill set that makes them more effective across the board. I am delighted that we are able to introduce all of our first-year students to some of the basic analytical tools of successful negotiation. ” 

Washington University’s robust upper-level Negotiation and Dispute Resolution curriculum includes over 25 courses, including multiple sections of core courses such as Pretrial Practice & Settlement, Business Negotiation, and Mediation. Students can choose from a rich array of theory and practice courses, seminars, clinics, and internship opportunities in the United States and overseas. The law school also offers an intramural Client Counseling Competition and Negotiation Competition for first-year students to impress upon them from their first year the importance of these fundamental lawyering skills. Upper class students can participate in the interschool A.B.A. Representation in Mediation Competition.

The Negotiation & Dispute Resolution program collaborates with the award-winning Clinical Education Program, Trial & Advocacy Program, and Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute to provide students with an outstanding legal education. 

Professor Ann Shields
Professor Ann Shields

Law School Adds LLM in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution 

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution is the latest addition to Washington University School of Law’s robust portfolio of master’s of laws (LLM) programs. The new LLM with a concentration in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution is currently accepting students for fall 2014. It joins the existing law school LLM programs in Intellectual Property & Technology Law, Taxation, and U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers. Three students, one from France and two from Australia, entered the LLM Negotiation & Dispute Resolution program in January 2014. Approximately 12 more LLM students will enter the NDR LLM program in August 2014. The law school also offers an online program in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers, @WashULaw.

“The addition of an LLM program in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution demonstrates our commitment to the principles of negotiation, problem-solving, collaboration, and creative dispute resolution and practice,” says Tokarz. “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has grown considerably over the past 40 years and is now the primary vehicle for legal dispute resolution in almost every area of legal practice in almost every country in the world. Our LLM in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution will prepare graduates for careers as skilled negotiators, advocates, mediators, arbitrators, diplomats, ombudspersons, policymakers, and business leaders in local, national, and international arenas.” 

LLM students will be able to take advantage of the law school’s extensive curriculum in negotiation and dispute resolution. LLM students also may take negotiation and dispute resolution courses in the Olin School of Business and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Full-time students may complete the LLM in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution in one additional semester or year, with a part-time option also available. 

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program Hosts Scholarship Roundtables

Washington University School of Law is a leading source for negotiation and dispute resolution scholarship through the annual “New Directions in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution” scholarship roundtables, hosted by the Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Program, in conjunction with the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy. The scholarship roundtables bring to the law school academics and practitioners at the forefront of negotiation and dispute resolution scholarship, teaching, and practice from around the world, with the goal of generating cutting-edge scholarship in the field. The roundtables are open to LLM Negotiation & Dispute Resolution students. 

The Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program will be hosting its next scholarship roundtable Thursday and Friday, November 6-7, 2014, focused on “New Directions in Social Entrepreneurship, Community Lawyering & Dispute Resolution,” in conjunction with the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work & Social Capital. Papers will be published in the spring 2015 volume of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy. Previous scholarship roundtables and volumes have focused on “New Directions in ADR and Clinical Legal Education“(volume 34); “New Directions in Restorative Justice” (volume 36); “New Directions in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution” (volume 39); and “New Directions in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution” (volume 45).  

NDR Domestic and International Experiential Learning Opportunities

Employment Mediation Class
Employment & Civil Rights Mediation
Theory & Practice class – fall 2013

Washington University upper-level students may participate in clinics, externships, and internships (non-credit) in which they engage in negotiation and dispute resolution in domestic and international venues, including:

  • Civil Rights & Community Justice Clinic (housing court mediations, mortgage foreclosure negotiations, and consumer mediations at the Better Business Bureau) [view article
  • International Justice & Conflict Resolution Semester Externship (full-semester externships with agencies and courts overseas, such as the U.N. Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Ghana Supreme Court ADR Programme)
  • Global Public Interest Law Fellows (10-week summer internships with agencies and courts overseas, such as the Beijing Arbitration Commission, Legal Aid Society of South Africa, International Labour Organization in Tanzania, and Search for Common Ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo) [view article]

Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program Sponsors Speakers, Trainings, and Continuing Legal Education; Post-Graduate International Stipends Open Doors into Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Practice

The Negotiation & Dispute Resolution Program sponsors speakers, trainings, and lectures each year. In conjunction with U.S. Arbitration & Mediation Midwest Inc. (USAM), the Program provides three Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs each academic year. These programs are open to all students, staff, and faculty, as well as the wider legal community. On occasion, the law school Career Services Office and USAM have provided post-graduate stipends for graduates with demonstrated interest in pursuing a career international ADR. Recent graduates have interned with a township school in South Africa, a law firm in China, and an environmental NGO in Chile.

Contact Information:

Karen Tokarz
Director, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Program, and Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Public Service
phone: (314) 935-6414

Mailing Address:
Washington University School of Law
Campus Box 1120
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899