Message From the Director
The legal system’s increasing resort to non-adversarial methods of resolving legal disputes reflects not simply dissatisfaction with litigation, but with a broader and growing interest in finding new ways to respond to conflict. This search for alternatives presents both opportunities and challenges to our profession and to the way we prepare lawyers for practice. The Dispute Resolution Institute will lead our profession in taking full advantage of these opportunities and responding thoughtfully to these challenges.
The history and heritage of the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law make it the ideal place to locate an institute devoted to the careful study and responsible practice of new methods of conflict resolution, especially when those methods often escape public oversight and the substantive and procedural safeguards of the law.
The field of dispute resolution also gives the School of Law and the Institute unprecedented opportunities for collaboration within the academy, the legal profession, and the broader community. Our success will largely depend on developing strong relationships across disciplines, across professions, and across other institutional boundaries.
We invite you to join us as we work to build a public resource for all of us in the field of conflict resolution.
Mark M. Morris
Professor of Law & DRI Director
North Carolina is a pioneer in using alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Outside of the legal system universities, schools, governments, along with the private sector are seeking innovative and effective ways of managing conflict. The explosive growth of arbitration, mediation, and other alternative methods of resolving legal disputes led the North Carolina Central University School of Law to create its Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic in 2000 – the first of its kind in North Carolina. Because the public and the courts increasingly expect lawyers to be accomplished in non-adversarial methods of resolving conflict, the School of Law is again taking the lead by establishing the first institute in the region devoted to the study and practice of dispute resolution.
The Mission of the Dispute Resolution Institute is to advance the theory and practice of dispute resolution in the pursuit of justice and reconciliation between individuals and groups in conflict. The Institute is especially mindful of NCCU School of Law’s unique history and record of achievement and will be committed to ensuring that evolving methods for resolving conflict do not undermine justice for economically disadvantaged, minority and marginalized individuals and communities. The Institute will critically examine how these methods affect the interests of these groups. The Institute is also committed to its goal of increasing the participation of minorities in the field.
Conflict is inescapable in a complex society. Accordingly, dispute resolution is especially suited to interdisciplinary study. The Institute will foster collaborative approaches to the study of conflict and the resolution of disputes. The Institutes will do this by partnering with other schools and departments and bringing students from other disciplines into the certificate program. Professionals in dispute resolution consistently find new ways in which ADR techniques are useful, from pre-litigation uses of ADR processes in employment and commercial disputes to restorative justice efforts and drug treatment courts in the field of criminal justice.
Certification in Dispute Resolution
The Certificate Program will require students to complete a core curriculum and a research and writing requirement. For law students and lawyers, the core curriculum will include courses in Negotiation, Mediation, Mediation Advocacy, and Arbitration. In addition, certificate students will participate in an externship or clinical experience related to dispute resolution. As the Institute develops its programs and establishes its reputation as a leader in the study and promotion of ADR in a variety of disciplines, the Certificate in Dispute Resolution will become a distinguished credential, indicative of rigorous academic achievement, advanced practical skills, and the highest standards of professionalism.