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May 3, 2010

Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center Celebrates Ten Years

The University of Oregon School of Law’s Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center is celebrating its tenth anniversary and reflecting on a decade of growth.

Under the leadership of Director and Associate Dean Jane Gordon, the ADR program has grown into the ADR Center: housing a master’s degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution; the Oregon Office for Community Dispute Resolution, the office that supports community dispute resolution across the state; the Competition Not Conflict program, designed to reduce destructive conflict in sports and promote the positive values of competition; and the Public Policy Collaborative, a partnership with Portland State University that trains and places students in internships and externships in public policy disputes throughout the state.

“With fewer than two percent of all cases ending up in the courtroom, it is critical for today’s lawyers to understand how various forms of dispute resolution can help clients reach the best outcomes,” says Gordon, who helped launch Eugene’s Community Mediation Services in the 1980s while still in private practice. “The ADR Center’s entrepreneurial mix of research, training, and internship opportunities serves not only our own law students and students across the UO campus; it is also helping to foster expansion of alternative approaches to dispute resolution across the country.”

After the program’s establishment in 2000, mediation specialist Michael Moffitt came on board as associate director to bring additional expertise and depth to the program’s offerings in mediation, negotiation, and dispute resolution. Just two years later, the center began to oversee all of the community mediation programs throughout Oregon. The master’s degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution was added in 2005, making Oregon Law only the second law school in the nation to offer such a program. In 2008, the Competition Not Conflict program was launched and, in the same year, the Public Policy Collaborative placed its first students on public policy dispute cases.

Through the administration of the Oregon Office for Community Dispute Resolution, the ADR Center supports statewide community conflict resolution services. Under the center’s oversight, nearly 1,000 professionally trained volunteers- including law students — provide mediation and conflict resolution services every year to some 30,000 Oregonians in twenty-five counties. In addition, master’s students working in places such as Kenya and Northern Ireland broaden the scope of the center’s involvement.

In fall 2009, the arrival of faculty member Jen Reynolds, an expert in negotiation and conflict theory, further strengthened a program widely considered one of the nation’s best.

“During the past decade, the University of Oregon ADR Center has made a significant and important mark on the field,” said Robert C. Bordone, director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. “I’m confident that the school’s ADR Center will continue to be a leader in the field in the decade ahead.”

From the Spring 2010 Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center newsletter

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