Dispute Resolution Clinic
The Dispute Resolution Clinic (DRC) offers students the opportunity to practice non-litigation dispute resolution skills and strategies in the real-world setting of New Hampshire and Vermont courts. Students observe and contribute to court-based mediation sessions of claims cases and bring their experiences back to the classroom where they review and analyze their cases in clinic-style rounds.
DRC students study under the guidance of Professor Robin Barone, administrator of small claims mediation programs in two Vermont courts and in Lebanon, New Hampshire District Court. Students must have free time during Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday to go to courts in Vermont and New Hampshire. Weekly seminars will focus on course readings regarding conflict theory, mediation techniques, litigation strategies, public policy and social justice issues, as well as ethical and licensing concerns. A portion of each class will be devoted to clinic-style rounds, enabling students to present the cases they have mediated for discussion and feedback. Students will be asked to analyze mediation practices and conflict theory from the various perspectives of mediator, attorney advocate, parties and client.
"Mediation," Professor Barone says, "is never boring." Conflict theory, problem-solving strategies, public policy, and social justice issues are discussed in the classroom and later applied in real-time mediation sessions. Students spend 24 hours observing and participating in mediation of small claims cases and come away from the course with a deeper understanding of the complexities and advantages of mediation.
The American Bar Association notes that in the future, "dispute resolution...will become an integral part of every attorney's practice." Through the DRC, students gain the first-hand experience that will help prepare them for a future in which non-litigation dispute resolution plays a critical role. This course is offered twice a year, in the fall and spring semesters.
Prerequisities: None; however, the course begins with an intensive skills session in the form of a day-long training session scheduled before the start of classes. Attendance at this course is mandatory. There is also a mandatory Saturday training session. Students interested in taking the course must attend these sessions. No exceptions can be made.