In keeping with the mission of St. Francis School of Law to provide cutting edge legal education online with a sophisticated professional skills focus, our upper-level students are currently engaged in our Alternative Dispute Resolution class. The course immerses students in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, with multiple weekly role-playing exercises completed entirely online in the Cisco WebEx platform, where students and their professors meet life, face to face, and voice.

The professors teaching the ADR courses for St. Francis Juris Doctor students have a great wealth of experience. St. Francis professor Michael White, previously served as the executive director of the Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement. Professor White is a Past President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. He has more than 25 years of practice experience in mediation and arbitration, including family mediations that involve dissolution and probate issues, as well as an extensive background in litigation. Dr. Roger Cusick, also teaching the ADR course this session, teaches contracts and torts at St. Francis as well. Dr. Cusick had a litigation practice for over 25 years, covering both state and federal court, and including both civil and criminal law.

This course is particularly significant for St. Francis students who are engaged in business, some of whom have already had significant exposure to these concepts. In one recent class as student leveraged her experience concerning the benefits of integrative bargaining. Prof. White observed that, in recent years, there has been a shift toward integrative bargaining, which he regards as the ideal approach for enlightened managers. This forward-thinking approach maintains authority while being open to listening to employees’ needs and responding to those needs in decision-making.

Students receive instruction on strategy and tactics, and prepare for their roles in the simulations in advance. The mock mediation then commences online in real time live class sessions, followed by a critique session. Dr. Cusick indicated, “The reading is interesting, but it is the class they will use. I think it is like reading how to ski. Until you slap on the skis, you never get the sense of action and tension that goes with the presentation.”

During the Alternative Dispute Resolution course, St. Francis students practice putting theory into action, fulfilling the St. Francis School of Law mission to prepare lawyers with practical professional skills.