Lea B. Vaughn, Integrating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) into the Curriculum at the University of Washington School of Law: A Report and Reflections, 50 Fla. L. Rev. 679 (1998), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/429
Florida Law Review
alternative dispute resolution, curricular reform
The essay is framed in two basic parts. In the first part, it describes the program of integration that was undertaken at the University of Washington during the 1995-1997 period of the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant. After describing the context in which these curricular changes were made, it describes the changes in years one and two of the grant program. Additional changes that have occurred subsequent to the final grant report in October 1997 also will be summarized. One of the lessons that emerges from our experience is that change will be an incremental, long term process. Although it was not possible to adopt a University of Missouri-Columbia program' within the two-year time frame of the grant, it is likely that the law school will have a program that resembles the Missouri Plan, albeit with a greater focus on the role of the legal writing program. This section of the essay, then, serves more as a contextualized "how-to" manual for schools that wish to make these changes slowly, or that have less than optimal conditions for the adoption of the full Missouri Plan.
The second part of the essay focuses on the process of curriculum reform. Although the overt topic of this symposium issue is the integration of ADR into the law school curriculum, the entire project has consequences far beyond the obvious. Integrating ADR into any law school curriculum places two issues squarely on the agenda of any law school: (1) What should we teach? and (2) What methods, generally, should we use when teaching? As Professor Riskin notes in his report, one major purpose of this undertaking is to change the "lawyer's standard philosophical map." By this, he means that he wants the lawyers' ordinarily adversarial, rules-based focus to be expanded so that lawyers engaged in dispute resolution would always consider interests beyond the solely legal ones as well as a broader framework of possible dispute resolution processes. Because creating a more global view of conflict and lawyering—at least in my view—is one of the goals of this grant project, it means that one must squarely face what Professor Pipkin calls "taming the heresy." As he explains this, many of the attributes of ADR contain elements that challenge, if not threaten, both traditional law school teaching and practice. The last part of this essay will reflect on the positive gains that can be assimilated into a particular law school's culture and the effects that this project may have generally for curricular reform.
Finally, this essay is written with two audiences in mind. The first are those readers, both educators and practitioners, who are interested in adapting the Missouri Plan to their law school. I hope that the descriptions included here help you as you consider either adopting this plan or approaching curriculum reform more generally. My colleagues are the second audience for this essay. Again, I hope that those of you who read it will consider adopting this program or that, at least, it may influence you to approach your teaching differently.