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USC Gould School of Law

USC Gould School of Law Center for Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is one of the fastest-growing areas of law and business. Organizations increasingly use dispute resolution processes to handle business and human resource issues, settling differences between parties out of court to save time and money.

Both arbitration and mediation — the two primary hearing forums used in ADR — require experienced practitioners skilled in both the art and science of these fair and impartial processes. In arbitration, the parties provide testimony and give evidence in a less-formal version of a trial, with the arbitrator reaching a decision. In mediation, the parties negotiate a resolution with the assistance of a neutral third party.

The USC Gould School of Law Center for Dispute Resolution is one of the nation's most comprehensive, longest-standing and renowned in the field of ADR. It offers thorough preparation in arbitration and mediation led by award-winning faculty experts. You will gain invaluable, in-depth knowledge on the complexities of ADR, while the rigorous, hands-on courses help you master the active listening, negotiation and creative problem-solving skills that are highly relevant for any legal practitioner or business executive.

Earn a Certificate

Complement your degree or pursue a standalone certificate in ADR by completing 12 units of specified coursework in the ADR curriculum. You may concurrently earn multiple certificates offered by USC Gould depending on your program. Some courses count toward more than one certificate.

ADR Master's Degrees

  • USC Gould offers two specialized degrees in ADR-Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LLM in ADR) and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR). These degrees are ideal for those interested in deepening their ADR skillset to further a career as a mediator or arbitrator, improve their advocacy abilities to achieve better outcomes in ADR processes or hone business management skills for leadership roles in ADR organizations. The LLM in ADR and MDR degrees can be completed in as little as one year.

Obtain Practical Experience

  • The award-winning Mediation Clinic, Advanced Mediation Clinic and Family Law Mediation Clinic give JD students the opportunity to use their dispute resolution skills to mediate actual cases in Los Angeles Superior Court. JD students in the Advanced Mediation Clinic take on more sophisticated cases in which lawyers represent the parties, while those in the new Family Law Mediation Clinic handle child custody cases in dependency court.

    Students gain additional hands-on experience through practicums and externships, workshops and mock mediation/arbitration competitions.

Learn Best Practices

  • The USC Gould School of Law Center for Dispute Resolution conducts regular ADR continuing legal education symposiums and arbitration institutes for in-depth opportunities to learn or refresh skills in arbitration and mediation led by renowned leaders in the field.