Many of us advocate the inclusion of ADR as a mandatory course in the legal curriculum both in Australia and internationally.
The current crisis in the United States legal education context makes me reflect on the fact that as students ask more of legal educators and their programs it is more important than ever that theory/skills course such as ADR are included in the curriculum.
ADR can prepare students for legal practice but also for careers that are not in the law but in associated areas. ADR is a course that opens up possibilities.
For a discussion of the crisis in United States legal education see
We do need to recognise our responsibility to be vocal about endorsing the mandatory teaching of ADR. We also need to weave it through the curriculum so that students pick up the message about repertoire and connectedness.
Lawyers love boxes and have ADR in a box they open reluctantly or under duress. They have not worked out the power of ‘fitting the forum to the fuss’ (as Professor Frank Sander advocated so long ago).
The only way this will change and lawyers finally understand the difference between settlement and resolution is if a new generation of lawyers is persuaded by us to see things differently.