Mediation Clinic - Advanced: Dispute System Design

LW11031 / LW.11641
Professor Ray Kramer
Professor Daniel M. Weitz
Open to 3L, 2L and LL.M. students*
Maximum of 16 students
Spring semester
5 Credits**
Pre-requisite: See below.***

The Purpose of the Mediation Clinic - Advanced: Dispute System Design

This Clinic is focused on the study and practice of dispute system design - understanding the design choices made by, and the challenges presented to, organizations seeking to manage conflict formally or informally, internally or externally. This includes examination of court processes and other government or private systems for managing conflict. Dispute system designers also develop and improve upon mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service programs, as well as provide assessment of their appropriateness in various contexts.

The clinic is also designed to enhance the basic mediation skills learned in the Mediation Clinic by application in fieldwork venues.

Course Description

This advanced course promotes understanding of conflict management on a systemic level, teaches basic dispute system design analysis, and orients lawyers and others to conflict needs assessment tools and related problem-solving skills. The course also focuses on enhancing basic mediation skills and examining and practicing the tools and strategies required to mediate more complex disputes, including multi-party mediations and to mediate in special contexts. This is done through case studies, simulations and observations of actual mediations. The approach to the course is interdisciplinary. Because the course is based upon an experiential learning model, attendance and participation are essential.  

The course will only be open to students who have taken one of the following, or an equivalent: the Mediation Clinic in either Fall 2022 or 2023; Mediation simulation course; Alternative Dispute Resolution or Negotiation. Students who have completed equivalent experience-based training in conflict management may petition for Clinic faculty approval on a case-by-case basis.

The Seminar

The Spring seminar meets once a week for two hours with a focus upon identifying and resolving issues of conflict in government, courts and private organizations and problems arising in design, regulation, delivery and/or assessment of conflict management services. The seminar also focuses on advanced mediation topics, including transformative mediation, the impact of mediator orientations on dispute system design, restorative justice practices, and recent developments in cognitive science and their potential impact on dispute resolution. Each student will be assigned to work on a project or projects related to one or more specific ADR service-delivery settings and report upon that work in class. In final satisfaction of the spring seminar requirements, students conduct an in-class workshop and complete a work product or research paper on a mediation or ADR service delivery or dispute system design topic, typically based upon fieldwork.


For Spring fieldwork, the Clinic will partner with the courts, government or private organizations to study particular aspects of conflict and explore dispute design system choices and the challenges presented. Where requested, the Clinic may assist by conducting conflict needs assessments, designing a new dispute system, evaluating an existing one, and helping build or implement design system recommendations.

The Clinic has provided conflict design and assessment services in partnership with public and private institutions, including the NYS Unified Court System and various components of the NYC Courts, The United States Southern and Eastern District Courts Mediation Programs, the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH); the NYC Housing Court; the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution at OATH; Palacky University in Olomouc; Czech Republic; the ADR Center in Rome; the Austrian National Mediation Organization; NYC City agencies including the Police Department; Department of Environmental Protection; Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Department of Consumer and Worker Protection; and the City Commission on Human Rights (peer mediation program); not-for-profit organizations including the New York Legal Assistance Group, Law-At-The-Margins, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts; and various high/middle/elementary schools in New York City’s school system.  Students are also welcome to propose their own dispute system design projects with partnering organizations or clients.

While formal mediation training may not necessarily be required for a student to work on dispute system design fieldwork, it is an essential prerequisite to function as a mediator. For students appropriately trained in mediation, the clinic field work will also include opportunities to mediate or coach mediation in New York Small Claims Courts, co-mediate at the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution at OATH, and mediate or co-mediate at the Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution (IMCR), a community dispute resolution center in the Bronx. Full mediator apprenticeship training requires each fieldwork student to complete a minimum of eight (8) live party mediations under supervision of an experienced mediator.  In addition, students will be offered an opportunity to participate in restorative circles run by the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution at OATH, for respondents who receive summonses issued under the Criminal Justice Reform Act and who elect a community service option rather than a fine. A regular time will be blocked in fieldwork student schedules to ensure that each student is available to complete their apprenticeship mediation work. For a more complete description of the mediation work and the partner organizations where the Clinic provides mediation, please review the fieldwork under the Mediation Clinic description.

As part of the guided learning, students will be required to submit periodic journal entries and site reports reflecting upon their observations and experiences in field work, mediation and training.

Application Procedure

Students who wish to apply to the Advanced Mediation Clinic: Dispute System Design should submit via CAMS the standard application, resume and unofficial transcript. Students who have not satisfied the prerequisites should submit this application, including a special request for admission to the Fall 3-credit Mediation Clinic Seminar.

Applicants will be contacted by Trena Crockett for an interview with Professor Ray Kramer or Professor Dan Weitz; once contacted, students should sign up for the interview on the CAMS system. These interviews will be held throughout the clinic application period and are a prerequisite to admission to the clinic. Please contact Ms. Crockett at 212-998-6448 or via email if you have any questions.

The Mediation Clinic-Advanced also welcomes LL.M. enrollments. The deadline is different than for JDs, and is posted on the Clinic Application Timelines page. Please note there is a separate application form for LL.M. students.

Student Contacts

Interested students might wish to contact current or former Clinic students, including:

Spring 2023
Rachel Burns  
Calvin Chappell   
Claudia Fernandez
Isabel Feuer   
Bernard Gburek    
Howard Glucksman
Emma Hagle  
Maya Hiebert
Antara Joardar
Moe Katchen   
Maisie Ng    
Ari Pomerantz   
Gaby Santiago
Eric Thompson

* The seminar portion of the clinic is also open - by special application - to degree candidates from other NYU schools.

** 5 credits include 3 clinical credits and 2 academic credits in Spring 2024.

*** The course will only be open to students who have or will have taken one of the following: Mediation Clinic Seminar Fall 2022 or 2023; other Mediation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Negotiation or alternate approved by faculty. Faculty will also consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether other negotiation, mediation or ADR training that a student has satisfactorily completed adequately satisfies the prerequisite requirement.