Nationally recognized as one of the nation's finest training grounds in dispute resolution, the Center for Dispute Resolution teaches and explores the theory and practice of negotiation, mediation, arbitration and other appropriate, alternative methods of resolving disputes. The Center for Dispute Resolution, founded at Willamette College of Law in 1983, was the first of its kind in the western United States and is the model against which similar endeavors are now measured.
The Center administers a specialized certificate in dispute resolution open to J.D. students as well as qualifying Willamette MBA students and members of the community.
The work of the Center is fertile ground for scholarly exploration. Faculty produce and disseminate research on conflict theory and problem solving. The Center has hosted distinguished scholars like Robert Mnookin, Neil Vidmar, Len Riskin and Daisy Hurst Floyd.
The Center for Dispute Resolution has served as a trainer or neutral facilitator in a variety of projects with government entities, select agencies and other organizations. In addition, we have provided training in student peer mediation for the local Salem-Keizer School District, worked with a local Marion County agency to help educate those involved in resolving family disputes, and assisted hundreds of attorneys in the Oregon Department of Justice in a special project.
Perhaps its most celebrated achievement was the successful resolution of a decades old land dispute involving 35,000 acres of watershed and old growth forest in the Willamette Valley. The historic Opal Creek document resolving this emotional and heated dispute, culminated countless hours of testimony, research and discussion, eventually became the basis for new environmental legislation passed by the United States Congress in 1996.
The Center sponsors a simulation bank of role-playing exercises for teachers and trainers in the areas of negotiation, arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. For a small fee, these academics and private trainers have access to a variety of simulations in various areas of the law that can be used to enhance the alternative dispute resolution skills of students and practicing professionals.
The Center maintains a Web site on Recent Developments in Dispute Resolution, updating academics and practitioners weekly on the latest cases in mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution topics.
Finally, the Center serves as a provider of continuing legal educational programs in the area of dispute resolution. The programs are responsive to trends in the law and teach everything from negotiation strategy to advocacy in mediation to ethics.