This course is designed to teach all students, however they plan to use their law school education, the skills necessary to creatively solve problems in whatever professional context they might arise. We use the classic James Harr's A Civil Action (Vintage 1996) to teach the interpersonal, communication and analytical skills lawyers need to become successful problem solvers. This story demonstrates how Jan Schlichtmann could have achieved a more successful outcome for his clients if only he had applied these basic skills in that case. With this foundation, we develop an understanding of problem- solving methodology and the use of negotiation and mediation, two of the primary ADR processes for solving problems. Experiential learning is the fundamental teaching method. Students will learn to apply negotiation and mediation theory in simulated exercises with students playing the roles of negotiator, mediator, advocate and client in these simulations. Students receive feedback on their performance based on in-class faculty observation as well a post-exercise class discussion. Arbitration is the third process within the ADR constellation. We begin with a discussion of ad how to determine whether arbitration is an appropriate process for solving a client's problem. Then, we focus on the legal infrastructure of arbitration, the Federal Arbitration Act and recent cases that have shaped the current arbitration legal landscape. We also discuss legislative efforts to address issues of fairness in arbitration, particularly focusing on mandatory class action waivers and their impact on consumers and employees. The course concludes with a discussion of other creative ways to resolve disputes, including the use of the apology and its use at the University of Michigan Hospital to address claims of medical malpractice.
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