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Unique ADR Programs

Ghana Program

During the spring 2012 semester, the Feerick Center for Social Justice announced an exciting opportunity for Fordham Law students to learn about international dispute resolution with particular emphasis on the introduction of alternative methods in Africa.

The course yielded recommendations for the chief justice of Ghana, including the development of materials and training programs for Ghanaian lawyers. Fordham Law students also traveled to Ghana in August 2012 on a fellowship to assist in conducting an alternative dispute resolution summer training program for Ghanaian lawyers and law students. The program was conducted in collaboration with St. John's University Law School.

Ghana is a country that has historically operated with judicial systems we would call alternative dispute resolution: mediation, negotiation, and arbitrations led by tribal chiefs and elders. Litigation is a relatively new, foreign, and unwelcome system of justice in the country. The people overwhelmingly understand and believe in the need for continuing relationships. There is now a struggle between the needs/interests of the individual versus the needs/interests of the community. During the week students spent in the program, they had the opportunity to speak with government officials, representatives of the Legal Aid Scheme (much like our public defender service), chiefs, priests, nuns, and social workers—all of the people trying to work out disputes between their peers. 

Reflecting on her experience, Sally Winters '14 said, "I was privileged to watch men and women who had never mediated a dispute use all of the techniques we attempt to master in the DRS. Not only that but these people who already had such a masterful grasp on the basic concepts were eager to learn more formalized techniques and tools for problem solving. The professors from Fordham and St. John's and the eminent faculty from the Ghanaian universities—Professor Nolan-Haley, Paul Kirgis, Elayne Greenberg, Nene Amegatcher, Janai Nelson, and Michael Owusu— were outstanding. Just watching them run the daily sessions was itself a master class in cross-cultural ADR to me. We were also honored to have the input of the Honorable Daniel D. Angiolillo and the Honorable Mark Dillon to discuss the differences between the Ghanaian and U.S. legal systems. All of this, of course, was the result of the dedication of Professor Dennis Lynch, without whose guidance, support, and belief the program would not exist. All in all, I came away from the experience feeling that I learned so much."

The Feerick Center has played a pivotal role in the creation of an alternative dispute resolution center at a private university in Ghana.

Ireland Program

Launched in 2001, the Fordham Belfast/Dublin study abroad program combines study in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In conjunction with Queens University Belfast and University College Dublin, the Fordham Belfast/Dublin program has offered courses in domestic and international dispute resolution, international human rights, international intellectual property, and international organizations. The international program has drawn distinguished members of the legal community as faculty, including Senator George Mitchell (Summer 2001); Justice Sandra O'Connor (Summer 2002); Janet Reno (Summer 2003); Judge Richard Goldstone, Constitutional Court of South Africa and Judge John Keenan '54, U.S. Federal Judge (Summer 2004); and William Michael Treanor, then Dean of Fordham Law School (Summer 2005).

Over the last decade, the program has brought over 500 Fordham students to Northern Ireland. The students take classes taught by Fordham and Queen’s staff, visit parliament buildings at Stormont, and meet members of the Legislative Assembly from all the major political parties. The program also includes visits to the courts, the Bar Library, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland; discussions with legal practitioners; a presentation by the Historical Enquiries Team; and a tour of the North Coast—one of the world’s most scenic coastal routes.

Interested students also have the opportunity to apply for clinical internship positions with judges in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Mediation Clinic

This year, 24 exceptional students were accepted for enrollment in Fordham's Mediation clinic, acting as mediators in small claims courts throughout New York City. Working collaboratively with a co-mediator partner in actual mediations, students learn how to think about dispute resolution in a fashion other than litigation or adversarial tactics. Their communication and reframing skills become highly developed as they explore the legal, policy, and professional responsibility issues of mediation practice by lawyers with an emphasis on the non-adversarial role of the lawyer-mediator and also the role of the attorney advocate in mediation.

Annual Symposia and Conferences

In 2011–2012, Fordham continued its strong tradition of hosting high quality symposia and conferences to begin and enhance practical discussion of current topics in ADR practice and academia.  Fordham hosted an incredibly successful symposium at the Law School last November entitled "Judicial Review of ADR Processes" with keynote speaker Professor Nancy Welsh. This was the School's 6th annual symposium and had fantastic turnout from practitioners and students alike. At the 7th Annual Fordham Law School Conference on International Mediation and Arbitration, Fordham proudly hosted keynote speaker Charles N. Brower, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal Judge, The Hague. For the first time, this conference was held with great success at the Great Hall of King's College in London.

Join Us at Our Symposium

This year’s symposium, entitled ADR Ethics in a Changing World, will explore the development of ethics in an evolving global market place where negotiation, mediation, and arbitration are as likely to take place in e-commerce and international arenas as well as in domestic settings. For more information, including a list of confirmed speakers, and to register, visit the event webpage

A Popular Society





After celebrating its 10-year anniversary this past spring, Fordham's Dispute Resolution Society continues to grow and succeed in all areas of the law student ADR community: flourishing in competition, providing service in the community, and enhancing the academic perspective through sponsorship of symposia and conferences. This year, over 160 students applied for 25 spots on the mediation and negotiation teams. To prepare for the competitions, the Society hosted both 2L and 1L training camps to introduce new competitors to the Fordham method and preparation.

Additionally, over 120 students applied for 8 spots on the Society’s arbitration team. The response was so overwhelming that the Society instituted a bench team to help the competitors prepare for competition. In February, the Society held its annual Vis Pre-Moot competition, an unprecedented program established by Fordham for students enrolled in law schools around the world. This year, over 225 competitors and 115 arbitrators had the unique opportunity to hone advocacy and arbitration skills, refine arguments, and meet fellow members of the Vis community prior to the official arbitration competitions in Hong Kong and Vienna.

The Society has also expanded its reach into the community through service activities and networking events with the NYC Bar Association. Each year Society members donate their time to teach basic negotiation skills to a local New York City public high school. In 2012, in combination with the NYC Bar Association, DRS will host a negotiation competition that will include teams from 16 high schools throughout New York.

We look forward to another successful year in 2012–2013.

No Disputing the Success of the DRS

The Dispute Resolution Society regularly places in national and international competitions, and the 2011–2012 academic year was no different. The DRS not only achieved many victories in each tournament, but students gained valuable practical insight into ADR theory and casework as well.

ABA Negotiation Regionals—New York

The DRS has advanced teams to the final round in each of the past five years, finishing as regional champions in 2008, 2009, 2010. This past year, Hayley Lowe '13 and Emily Wolf  ’13 placed 4th overall.

ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition—

In 2011, the DRS was crowned world champions, placing 1st in the world out of 57 teams from 26 countries. This past year, teammates Mandy Barner '12, Rachael DeChacon '12, Elliott Nathanson '12, and Amee Parekh '12 were one of only five U.S. teams to advance to the final rounds, finishing in the top 16 of 66 teams. 

ABA Mediation Regionals—
New York

The DRS swept the regional competition in 2011, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then went on to become national champions at the ABA Mediation Nationals Competition in Denver. This past year, Danielle May '13 and Nick Schaefer '13 placed 3rd overall.

International Competition for Mediation Advocacy—

The Society’s ICMA teams have advanced to the finals in both of their two trips to Toronto, placing 2nd and 4th overall. This past year, Society members Eric Bernstein '13, Lauren Lombardo '13, Sara Petranek '13, and Sally Winters '13 advanced through three preliminary rounds and received perfect scores in the quarterfinals as they bested schools from around the world.

Vis International Commercial Arbitration—
Hong Kong & Vienna

This past year was incredibly successful for both arbitration teams, with six of the eight competitors receiving Oralist Awards. To underscore that success, Caroline Billet ’13 and Bill Crowe ’13 were honored as the 3rd Place Best Oralist (out of more than 300 competitors in Hong Kong and 1,000 competitors in Vienna). Additionally the Hong Kong team advanced to the top sixteen, ranked as the #1 seed overall of 90 teams after the preliminary rounds.

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