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  • As an LLM in ADR student, you will benefit from clinical and experiential learning experiences that build and deepen your ADR proficiency. As a graduate, you will be able to implement your knowledge in many areas of law and business practice, and will feel confident mediating, arbitrating, negotiating out-of-court settlements and managing the ADR process.

    We recognize that you must balance your law studies with work, family and other responsibilities. We offer flexible scheduling that allows you to take classes during the day or in the late afternoon and evening. We also offer some weekend classes.

    Two courses are required for all students:

    • ADR Law and Policy: Arbitration and Mediation
    • ADR Ethics

    International students must also enroll in Introduction to U.S. Legal Systems.

    You will satisfy your remaining course requirements with electives of your choice, and must earn at least 12 units in ADR-specific curriculum to receive the LLM in ADR degree. Course selection varies each semester depending on interest and availability.

Course Descriptions

Select a course below to view a more detailed description of the course.

ADR Clause Drafting

ADR Clause Drafting teaches how to identify and draft language recognizing anticipated, and the potential for unanticipated, consequences of a contemplated business transaction or actual dispute as well as the nature of the parties and their relationship. It instills essential ADR skills to identify, negotiate and draft specific to a contemplated business transaction or actual dispute.

ADR Ethics

ADR Ethics provides students, lawyers and professional neutrals with an in-depth examination of the rules guiding behavior in various dispute resolution processes.

ADR Externships

An ADR externship allows a student to gain hands-on mediation or arbitration experience in legal settings.

ADR Law and Policy: Arbitration and Mediation

This course explores the origin, development and practice of mediation, arbitration and other forms of ADR, emphasizing the policies underlying these increasingly significant and evolving areas.

Arbitration Advocacy

Arbitration Advocacy introduces the basic approaches to preparing and presenting cases in the arbitration context.

Arbitration in the United States

Arbitration in the United States explores the range of issues addressed by the Federal Arbitration Act and state arbitration laws.

Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution

This course brings an international perspective to understanding the impact of culture in the most commonly used international and domestic dispute resolution practices (negotiation, mediation and arbitration).

Directed Research

Directed Research projects reflect substantial independent research and study in the area of ADR and under the direction of an ADR instructor which result in meaningful written work, generally 10 to 15 pages per unit of credit. Students may enroll in 1 to 4 units. Units earned are not counted by the State Bar of NY toward the NY Bar Exam requirements.

Divorce and Family Mediation

This course covers the practice and theory required to navigate many family law issues, including divorce, property, custody and immigration disputes.

Employment Dispute Mediation

Employment Dispute Mediation provides hands-on experience in the mediation of the complex issues of disability, wage and hour, sex and sex harassment, age, race, religion and national origin.

International Arbitration

International Arbitration examines methods of dispute resolution used in other countries and compares them to those employed in the United States.

International Investment Law and Arbitration

This course instills a greater in-depth understanding of the key issues and legal questions that arise in international business dispute resolution.

Introduction to U.S. Legal System (Int'l Students Only)

This course explores the legal system in the United States and the distinctive process and methods of American law. It examines the basic structure and operation of government in the United States, particularly the judicial branch, and focuses on the American method of making, finding and enforcing law. It also provides a basic understanding of the historical context in which the legal system in the United States developed and highlights the foundational values of American law, such as due process and equality.

Mediation Advocacy

Mediation Advocacy examines the process of mediation, explores the philosophical approaches to mediation and different styles of mediating, develops a working knowledge of the stages of mediation, and cultivates skills essential to becoming effective advocates throughout each stage of the process.

Mediation Theory & Practice

Provides the analytical framework to explore the various theories, practices, ethical issues and policies of mediation, as well as the mediation process itself. Highly interactive and participatory, with most class sessions devoted to mediation role plays or group exercises, this course prepares students to mediate in a variety of settings. The course is designed to satisfy mediator training requirements under the California Dispute Resolution Programs Act as well as recent initiatives launched by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Negotiation Theory and Application

Examines origin and types of conflicts that arise within organizations. Includes designing systems to prevent conflict from developing or escalating, as well as developing a culture of collaboration and creativity.

Practical Mediation Skills Clinic

In this clinic, LLM in ADR and Master of Dispute Resolution students learn the dispute resolution skills required to become mediators and use those skills to mediate actual cases in the California court system or in another mediation context or setting.

*These courses offer G&IP-only sections; LLM in ADR students may not enroll in the JD sections of these courses.

If you seek to apply transfer credit toward your degree, please email [email protected] to determine eligibility.

Certificate Offerings

You may pursue our Business Law certificate concurrent with your studies. This certificate requires the completion of 12 units of law coursework specific to the certificate. This does not include classes offered outside of the law school. There are no additional tuition costs associated with the certificate.

CIArb Accreditation

USC Gould has a Recognized Course Provider status with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), an internationally renowned professional membership organization that provides training and professional services for judges, arbitrators, and other ADR practitioners. It also acts as a global hub for practitioners, policy makers, academics and those in business, supporting the promotion, facilitation and development of all ADR methods worldwide. Founded in 1915 and granted a Royal Charter in 1979 as a not-for-profit organization, CIArb has a growing membership of 16,000, and is based across 133 countries and supported by an international network of 39 branches.

CIArb offers a progressive ladder of opportunities leading to professional designations that show increasing levels of competence in arbitration and mediation, starting with Student, then Associate (ACIArb), Member (MCIArb), and finally Fellow (FCIArb). As a USC Gould student, once you successfully complete our International Arbitration (LAW-817) course, you become eligible to apply for CIArb membership at the Member (MCIArb) level, helping you to climb the CIArb accreditation ladder more quickly and economically towards your goal of achieving a highly coveted professional credential with international recognition.

Degree Outcomes

Through the LLM in ADR degree, you will develop:

  • an understanding of underlying policies and legal ramifications for the range of available ADR options
  • an expansive skillset for conducting ADR processes
  • appropriate ethical guidelines as a neutral while conducting ADR processes
  • an understanding of the wide variety of ADR policies and issues that affect practitioners in an ADR practice
  • an understanding of the arbitration process nationally and internationally, as well as the principles that underscore the enforceability of arbitration agreements and awards (if you select arbitration coursework)
  • sensitivity to cultural factors that affect ADR and practical experience in conducting mediations in the litigated case environment (if you select mediation coursework)

Career Resources

As a graduate of the LLM in ADR degree, you will be able to achieve greater levels of success within your current organization, or may use the degree to prepare for a career as a mediator or arbitrator. USC Gould offers career workshops to our ADR degree students. These workshops include specific student group and individualized guidance on:

  • preparing for a career in and building a network as a mediator or arbitrator
  • building business plans for ADR practice
  • developing materials to market your ADR practice
  • networking to build your ADR practice
  • operating your ADR practice as a business

In addition to developing a practice as a mediator or arbitrator, many types of careers benefit from exposure to ADR practices. Our courses are developed to build widely useful skills such as communication, problem-solving, management and team-building.

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