Family Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic (YR)
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This yearlong clinical course is open to 2L and 3L students. Students will earn a total of 6 credits during two semesters—4 in the Fall and 2 in the Spring. The course focuses on mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method to resolve conflicts involving families and children. Traditional family law practice is adversarial and lawyers represent their clients by negotiating issues or litigating cases. In cases that go to trial, outcomes are determined not by the parties, but by judges. Social science research has demonstrated the potentially harmful effects of adversarial litigation on children, especially since this method of conflict resolution tends to increase rather than decrease conflict between parents. Mediation, an alternative to adversarial litigation, uses a neutral third-party facilitator to guide and empower the parties to reach their own agreements. In this clinic, students will serve, not as attorneys representing clients, but as mediators assisting the parties to develop mutually agreeable resolutions to their disputes. Students will learn about the differences between litigation and mediation while enhancing their negotiation skills—skills that are important in many different substantive law areas. In addition, students will gain a solid understanding of mediation ethics, creative problem solving, and the role of neutral facilitator versus that of advocate.
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.