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ADR Career Advancement Opportunities

Externships and Internships

Numerous opportunities for students interested in professional advancement in the ADR field exist for MSU College of Law students. With experiences ranging from positions working for private firms specializing in ADR to arbitration providers to federal and state agencies with ADR programs, students can choose the internship or externship that best meets their needs.

Students interested in pursuing professional development internships and externships in ADR may contact the MSU College of Law Career Services Office by visiting their website, calling 517-432-6830, or emailing questions to career@law.msu.edu.

Externship with the Dispute Resolution Association of Michigan

Location: Lansing, MI
Job Description:

  • Research skill building and outreach in the field of alternative dispute resolution
  • Draft memos and outreach materials and Advanced DRAM ADR project
  • Attend and help administrator mediation process
  • Draft conciliation agreements
  • Perform telephone consultation including intake of calls and contracting opposing party
  • Research legal and procedural questions related to land use, mental health, and online mediation
  • Draft case briefs and issue summaries
  • Translate legislation related to gubernatorial land use commission

Research into the applications of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in mental health, land use planning, business and legal arenas, including a review of the state and local governmental laws and programs in Michigan and nationwide that establish alternative means of addressing conflict within the fields.

This term-long externship is for 2L or 3L students and begins each semester. It is unpaid. Externships should be applied for one to two months prior to the start of the semester. Minimum eligibility requirements are that the student be in good academic standing and have completed at least one full year of legal study. Students who have completed fewer than 29 credits are eligible if, during the externship semester, they take at least five credits, including three credits for the externship. The selection criteria will vary in some respects for each externship. The individual externship placement will disclose what additional criteria are required.

Go to MSU Law’s Externship Program Guide for information on how to apply for this externship.

Externship with the Dispute Resolution Center of Central Michigan
Location: Lansing, MI
Job Description:

  • Observe mediations at the Center and the Courts; participate in debriefing sessions
  • Manage own conciliation caseload including an intake process and contacting other parties involved
  • Present each party’s positions and/or interests to the other in a neutral manner to aid them in coming to an agreement
  • Write up agreements, obtain signatures and file court papers
  • Follow up on cases to see if agreements were kept
  • Maintains files on work completed
  • Assist running mediations at 54-A District Court
  • Prepare participants for mediation

This term-long externship is for 2L or 3L students and begins each semester. It is unpaid. Externships should be applied for one to two months prior to the start of the semester. Minimum eligibility requirements are that the student be in good academic standing and have completed at least one full year of legal study. Students who have completed fewer than 29 credits are eligible if, during the externship semester, they take at least five credits, including three credits for the externship. The selection criteria will vary in some respects for each externship. The individual externship placement will disclose what additional criteria are required.

Go to MSU Law’s Externship Program Guide for information on how to apply for this externship.

ADR as a Career

Today’s legal, business and social world is filled with conflict, creating a demand for experienced mediators and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a cost-effective, proven and timely approach to addressing disputes. ADR allows parties in conflict to communicate with each other directly to settle their disputes with the assistance of a professional mediator. In addition, the rate of compliance is likely to be higher when parties reach their own agreement.

The growing demand for individual trained in ADR has led to increased employment opportunities in this field, especially as courts explore other means of solving the volume of cases before them.. According to a Cornell University study, 80 percent of large employers nationwide operate internal alternative dispute resolution programs. A number of other sources report that ADR will be among the fastest-growing professions in the early decades of this century. As a matter of fact, all federal departments and many state agencies are required to offer ADR options. Increasingly, firms and organizations that use ADR in their internal and external conflicts recognize and value employees with ADR competence.

People who practice ADR come from professions in all types of fields, including banking, construction, counseling, education, emergency administration, government and the ministry. Those individuals trained in ADR use their knowledge and skills in conflict management in a variety of careers that require dealing with human interaction. Employment opportunities will be enhanced in the fields of mediation, arbitration, health administration, business and human resource management, industrial relations, administration of justice, international relations, education administration, and law enforcement. The bottom line, ADR skills can make you more valuable and more marketable to your current employer or potential employers.


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