The Dispute Resolution clinic offers students the opportunity to practice non-litigation dispute resolution skills and strategies in the real-world setting of the 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.
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 go to courts in Vermont and New Hampshire. Weekly seminars 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 is devoted to clinic-style rounds, enabling students to present the cases they have mediated for discussion and feedback. Students are 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." The American Bar Association notes that in the future, "dispute resolution...will become an integral part of every attorney's practice." Through the Dispute Resolution Clinic, 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.