Richard E. Custin
University of San Diego- School of Business Administration
University of San Diego – School of Business Administration
September 1, 2012
The Peacemaker Quarterly, InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution, September 2012
Litigation is slow and inefficient. It’s expensive, unpredictable, and airs problems in full public view. It’s adversarial and can destroy longtime relationships. On the other hand, mediation has long been recognized as an effective and efficient process to resolve legal disputes, and has benefits specific to business that litigation cannot offer. Mediation offers reduced cost, privacy, and a trained mediator. In spite of mediation’s prominence in the business world, current undergraduate business law and legal environment courses generally pay it short shrift. These courses may include a brief discussion of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and arbitration, but that is not enough. Even the popular media suggests to students “if you have a dispute you should take ‘em to court.” Mediation is too ubiquitous in the “real world” to relegate to a small cameo in undergraduate business law curriculum. This article will discuss why mediation training is essential, explore how our current teaching methodology falls short, and propose practical classroom.