Coursework

Lawyer as Problem-Solver Program
The Lawyer as Problem Solver Program was designed specifically to help connect first-year law students to parts of the law not traditionally covered in the first year – topics such as negotiation and problem-solving, but also more general issues such as communication, understanding financial data, interacting in a law firm, and improvisation. First year and LLM students have the opportunity to select modules that are of greatest interest to them. This provides a broader view of what it means to be a lawyer and connects students to faculty outside of their first year professors at an early point in their education. More...

Negotiation Workshop
For most lawyers, negotiation is a central part of their professional duties. Of those matters that come into a lawyer's office, the vast majority are resolved by negotiation. Negotiation also is part of everyday life. This course is designed to give students experience in negotiation, as well as a foundation in negotiation theory. The emphasis of the course is on experiential learning. Students spend most of their time participating in negotiation simulations, as well as discussing negotiation problems. Students are observed in negotiations and receive feedback, which includes feedback from their peers relating to reputation. Several negotiations are videotaped for later viewing and additional feedback.

Negotiation simulations cover a wide range of situations. In past years, students have negotiated the settlement of lawsuits, neighborhood disputes, campus disputes, personal services contracts, contracts for the sale and purchase of commercial and residential property, intra-family disputes, corporate takeovers, international and labor disputes.

The class meets three hours one afternoon or evening per week. Additional meetings with students and attorneys also are required to negotiate or prepare for negotiations.

Advanced Negotiation Workshop
The Advanced Negotiation Workshop is designed to accomplish two objectives: To allow students to apply what they learned in the basic negotiation workshop to more complex situations and to provide each student the tools of mindful awareness so that they may understand their responses to conflict and to improve their own individual abilities as a negotiator. To accomplish these objectives, students will engage in multi-party/multi-issue negotiations. In addition, students will receive feedback from the professor and experienced negotiators on their skills. Finally, students will engage in improvisational exercises as well as adventure learning challenges in order to test their ability to apply the classroom learning in the real world.

Mediation Advocacy
This course focuses on the perspective of the legal advocate in the mediation process. Over the last 70 years, we have seen a 90% decline in the number of cases going to trial.  The vast majority of cases now settle prior to trial, with less than 1% of federal civil cases going to jury trial (bench trials are even lower).  Attorneys today need to understand how to effectively advocate for a client in a wide variety of settings including negotiation, settlement conferences, judicial settlements, and mediation.   Effective advocacy in mediation has some elements in common with effective advocacy in litigation, but also many different elements.  Course materials and exercises will discuss different mediation models and mediator styles, mediator selection, attorney preparation, client preparation, as well as advocacy during the mediation session itself.  Students will also explore how rules of professional conduct and ethical standards impact mediations.  Students will read material on mediation advocacy as well as learn from experienced advocates, and will also participate in exercises in which they play the role of an attorney representing a client in mediation.

Mediation Process
This course provides students with a theoretical framework and practical application of the mediation process focusing on the role of mediator.  Students will study a variety of mediation models, current laws regulating and guiding mediation, ethical considerations for mediators, implications mediation has on litigation, and broader applications of mediation skills for lawyers.  The skills taught in this course are invaluable if you want to mediate or simply be a better negotiation - Research shows that the best negotiators have received mediation training.  Even if a student does not plan to be a mediator, this course provides unparalleled experience thinking on your feet with personalized and intensive feedback from dispute resolution professionals.  All students will also have an opportunity to observe a mediation in the Cook County courts.

Northwestern has partnered with the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) to provide professional mediation skills training during the course of the semester.  CCR is a non-profit organization that provides free mediation services in Chicago through the Cook County court system and community-based referrals.  Some of the training will take place in class; there will be additional weekend training sessions for all students interested in pursuing certification as a CCR mediator.  Students certified as CCR mediators will be eligible to conduct actual mediations on behalf of CCR in the 4 credit hour practicum during Spring semester (LITARB 676).  Certification as a CCR mediator is determined by a committee of CCR trainers and is based on a student's ability to successfully complete a series of simulated mediations and demonstrate mastery of CCR's mediation model.

Mediation Practicum
Students who take the Mediation Process and Advocacy course and become certified to mediate can enroll in the Mediation Practicum where they will mediate actual cases in partnership with the Center for Conflict Resolution. Students mediate cases at various courts in the Chicago area. Typical matters include: landlord-tenant, neighbor, small business and pro-se disputes. The Practicum also involves a weekly class session during which students share their mediation experiences and explore topics in the mediation field including: family mediation, collaborative law, restorative justice and commercial mediation.

Conflict Management In The Legal Practice
The goal of this course is to help students develop certain skills and perspectives for managing conflict and managing themselves that will enable them to provide better service to their clients and gain more satisfaction in professional practice. The course will involve two principal tracks, which we will frequently weave together. Track one, Tools for Managing Conflict, focuses on developing theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for understanding and dealing with conflict and disputes and negotiating deals. Track two, Tools of Awareness, focuses on strategies that will allow you to function more effectively in a wide variety of settings. The two tracks can reinforce each other: The Tools of Awareness enhance our ability to negotiate, mediate, and advocate well; and Tools for Managing Conflict foster our ability to develop and maintain present-moment, nonjudgmental awareness. During the semester, students undertake experiential exercises that combine dispute resolution, mindful awareness (currently employed in the U.S. in a few law firms and law schools, corporations and government agencies), and various meditation practices.

Dispute Resolution
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the various dispute resolution options from negotiation to trial. Each dispute resolution process is critically analyzed for theoretical and practical differences, strengths and weaknesses, and appropriate areas of use. A variety of teaching techniques are utilized, including exercises, simulations, demonstrations (live and videotaped), and presentations.

The course's principal focus is preparing and participating in three extensive simulations. Students receive case materials for a complex construction case. Teams of two or three students are assigned to represent a party in three dispute resolution simulations: negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Students stay in the same teams representing the same parties for all three simulations. The roles of attorney or client should alternate, but all team members contribute to the memo or brief due as part of each simulation.

Each team is assigned a different opposing team for each simulation. Lawyers and business people from the private and public sector and professional mediators act as the neutrals. One of the professors will observe each simulation and provide feedback. Each simulation session requires approximately three hours and can be scheduled for open class times or other evenings and weekends by agreement.

The experience needed to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of dispute resolution processes is directly related to participation in exercises, simulations and debriefing discussions. Attendance is imperative.

Advanced Dispute Resolution
In this seminar, students study a number of "mental models" (or mindsets, cognitive frameworks, philosophical maps, perspectives) that play or could play roles in the development, evolution, and attempts to address conflict. In studying these models (some of which overlap or are intricately interrelated). Students explore perspectives from social science disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and economics; neuroscience; and cognitive maps of lawyering (e.g., traditional, client-centered, collaborative), negotiation (e.g., adversarial and problem-solving), and mediation (e.g., narrow, broad, transformative, understanding-based). Students also will consider: a. the relationships between and among mental models, emotions, negotiation, mediation, and lawyering; b. whether the mental models are explicit or implicit, conscious or subconscious; and c. identifying and using the most appropriate mental model in particular circumstances.

Colloquium on Negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
This colloquium provides an opportunity for students to review and comment upon leading scholarship in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. Students will be encouraged to become informed on diverse scholarship on negotiation and dispute resolution, and to evaluate its contribution to legal practitioners and the legal system. This course is primarily geared toward students with an interest in bargaining, negotiation, mediation and arbitration; the course may also be of interest to students with a more general interest in the social sciences (psychology, political science, economics, anthropology and sociology).

Power, Status, and Negotiation
This course introduces students to social exchange theory and its application to negotiations. Students explore how structures of networks and resource dependence influence outcomes of negotiated and reciprocal exchange. To do this, the course focuses on four key components of social exchange theory: resources, power, brokerage, and status. Questions like, when are actors more or less likely to resort to coercive power; when are they more likely to resort to reward power; which is more effective; how does status impact outcomes; when is it better or worse for an actor's alternatives to exchange to have many or few alternatives to exchange; when is it good for an actor for her alternatives to exchange to know each other are addressed;   The course then turns to how negotiation processes may be informed by structure in influencing outcomes of exchange by evaluating when and how actors may influence outcomes in their negotiations using information about network structures and resource dependence models.

International Business Negotiation
The purpose of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to gain insight into the dynamics of negotiating and structuring international business transactions, to learn about the role that lawyers and law play in these negotiations, and to give students experience in drafting communications and actual negotiations. Students also learn about the legal and business issues that may arise in joint ventures, supply agreements, and licensing agreements. Students utilize state-of-the-art video conferencing facilities to interact with students from other parts of the country.

Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice is rooted in tribal approaches to resolving conflicts. In recent decades, courts, communities and schools are returning to restorative methods to address  family issues such as child guardianship; escalating violence in our schools and streets; reintegrating  prisoners into their communities; making decisions about appropriate sentencing; and the role of victims in the process.  In each context, the same issues must be addressed: who is involved, what are the needs of the parties, and what can be done to resolve the issues at hand.

As restorative justice is increasingly part of the dialogue about crime rates, community disengagement, the costs of sustaining a prison population, and the school to prison pipeline,  lawyers practicing in these areas must be aware of how the restorative justice  movement will impact their clients.  This class will introduce students to the philosophy, history and guiding principles of restorative justice, as well as its many applications.  Assumptions about crime and justice will be examined by comparing and contrasting retributive and restorative paradigms.

Dispute Resolution in Sports
This course will provide an overview of how dispute resolution processes are used in the world of sports.  At the start of the semester, we will discuss dispute resolution in U.S. professional sports.  We will discuss the basics of negotiations in this context and how they are shaped by labor law.  We will then discuss the basics of how contract and grievance arbitrations work in U.S. professional sports leagues.  This will be followed by an introduction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the institutions of the Olympic movement.  This will be timed to take place during the Olympics so that students can read and discuss current cases that are being decided by the CAS Ad-Hoc Division, which will lead to discussion of how arbitrations function during the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and FIFA World Cup.  This will be followed by discussion of the World Anti-Doping Code, the procedures for doping arbitrations, and the controversies related to these arbitrations.  Following this, we will discuss some of the ethical controversies in the international sports world, such as match fixing, intentionally losing, corruption, and issues related to the integrity of sports arbitrations.  The class will also cover NCAA eligibility issues and will conclude with discussion of football (soccer) transfer arbitration cases.