USC Gould School of Law provides one of the nation’s longest-standing offerings in negotiation, mediation, and dispute resolution. Former USC Gould Dean Dorothy W. Nelson (1967-1979) first introduced mediation and arbitration materials into her courses in 1957 and served on the law school’s faculty until her appointment to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979. Judge Nelson was instrumental in developing and promoting dispute resolution education and practice in private and public sectors during her long and distinguished career. Her leadership and contributions to dispute resolution education began long before it became popular in legal educational pedagogy.
Judge Nelson's legacy continues today with the USC Gould Center for Dispute Resolution which offers cutting-edge dispute resolution education, and whose students come from diverse backgrounds, varied experience, and diverse perspectives. The Center’s students include judges, lawyers, law students, undergraduates, business owners, and executives, as well as professionals from fields such as education, human resources, military, public safety, medicine, real estate, entertainment, sports, IT, and others. The Center’s students represent more than 40 countries, providing a rich cross-cultural environment that enhances the values of equity and inclusion, as well as student learning and skill development.