Centers

Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution

The Center for Dispute Resolution administers a Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution, which has been ranked among the top-10 dispute resolution programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This specialized program of study provides a substantial foundation in mediation and negotiation for all law students. However, the program is particularly valuable for those students interested in a deep exploration of problem solving, deal making and decision theory.

The Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution requires 17 hours of specialized study as part of the 90 hours required to earn the J.D. Participation in the certificate program is open to 16 students from each class. Students enrolled in the program develop vital expertise in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, trial process and conflict theory and learn important aspects of psychology, economics and other disciplines that bear on dispute resolution. The practical and theoretical components of the program equip students with the negotiation techniques needed to readily prevent and quickly resolve a broad range of legal disputes.

First-year students interested in admission to the program must enroll in the introductory dispute resolution course offered in the spring semester. In addition to the introductory course, the program requires three other courses, the capstone course, a major paper and 70 hours of practicum.


Admission to the Program

Applications are due from students at the end of their 1L year. For the 2013-2014 academic year, applications are due on August 7, 2013. Admission decisions are made August 15, 2013 by the CDR Certificate Committee. Only the applications of students who have a 2.5 or better and who have taken the Dispute Resolution elective will be considered for admission to the Certificate Program.

Criteria for Admission

A. Entry into the Program

Up to 16 students will be admitted into the program. Three are students from the applicant pool who achieve the highest cumulative grades in Civil Procedure and Negotiation-1, the next five are the highest cumulative grade point holders in the applicant pool and the remaining eight positions will be filled by a standing Committee on the CDR Certificate on the basis of the personal statement and application. To be admitted to the program, a student must have a 2.5 GPA.

To enter in the certificate program, a student must file an application and be admitted to the Program. To be admitted, a student must have a minimum of 2.5 GPA and must do the following:

1. Fill out the application.

2. Submit a personal statement. You must submit a two or three page statement outlining your interests in conflict and dispute resolution, your career aspirations, and your reasons for seeking CDR certificate. Personal statement may be mailed, hand delivered or e-mailed to Reyna Meyers at: Reyna E. Meyers, Willamette University College of Law, 245 Winter Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97301; Telephone: 503-370-6046, Fax: 503-370-6998, E-mail: rmeyers@willamette.edu.

B. Requirements for the Certificate             

At the end of the third year, the committee will review the transcripts of the certificate candidates. In order to receive a CDR certificate at graduation, a candidate must:

1. Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or better in the courses in Negotiation-1, Civil Procedure, Evidence, Arbitration, Advanced Topics in Conflict Theory, and any graded elective listed among the Course Requirements below;

2. Earn a grade of "Credit" or "Honors" in Mediation, Negotiation, and any "Honors/Credit/No Credit" elective listed below:

  • Trial Practice
  • Externship
  • Pre-Trial Civil Litigation
  • Civil Practice Clinic

3. In the 2nd year, satisfactory performance with RDDR (Recent Developments in the field of Dispute Resolution), meaningful participation in the annual ODRC (Oregon Dispute Resolution Conference), attendance and support of the Negotiation Competition, and participation in other prior announced talks and related events are required.

4. In the 3rd year, successful completion of a 70-hour practicum, including those courses mentioned in the application, is required. See the detailed course listing in the application or student handbook for more information.

Application Materials

Students who wish to apply for consideration as CDR Certificate candidates must include the following in their application: their transcript, a personal statement and any other relevant materials selected by the applicant (limited to a total of 6 pages, including the required materials; these pages may include, for example, letters of recommendation and writing samples).


Curriculum and Practica

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Petitions

A student who takes the 1L DR course, and who also takes (or is enrolled in) Negotiation and either Mediation in their 2L year may petition to be admitted into the CDR Certificate Program or Evidence in February of their 2L year. If a student is admitted under this provision, the student must design and complete the required practica for both 2L and 3L years as designed with and approved by the CDR staff.


Program Faculty

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“Without knowledge of the invaluable techniques of dispute resolution, the law is like a play without actors — it is lifeless and uninteresting. However, once the actors take the stage, once the lawyers start their work, then the play, the law, comes alive.”

— Professor Richard Birke
Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution and the Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution


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The Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution curriculum instills in students invaluable negotiation skills, as well as an understanding of the psychological principles and settlement procedures that are essential to effective mediation. I know that I am a better student — and will be a better attorney — for having participated in this program.