MSU College of Law

Conflict Resolution Clinic - Information for Students

4 credits, graded

This clinic will focus on teaching you to be a problem solver which is a fundamental skill that lawyers need regardless of the work they do or the setting in which they do their work. This course will provide an opportunity for you to learn the theory, skills, and professionalism issues associated with mediation and conflict resolution.

The first part of the semester will be an intensive period of 40 hours mediation training that has been approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution of the Michigan Supreme Court Office of Administration. Students will get a certificate that verifies they have completed the Court approved training. The rest of the semester, you will watch and do real mediations in various courts and agencies in the area. Because of the training and court schedules, in order to participate in the clinic, you must be available from 12:30-5:00 on Wednesdays and 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 on Fridays.

The pedagogical methods that will be used will be reading about a skill, observing the skill being performed, preparing to practice the skills, performing the skill, and reflection.

The course activities include

  • Working with real people who have real problems in a variety of settings to practice your problem solving skills
  • Mediating real cases
  • Reading assigned materials and relevant supplemental materials
  • Participating in the clinic classroom component and training
  • Watching simulations
  • Performing in simulations in and outside of the classroom
  • Doing outreach and public education
  • Writing reflective papers that demonstrate that you can apply the theory of what you have learned to the experiences that you are having
  • Exploring the use of mediation in other settings and presenting your findings to the clinic


  • You are expected to put in a minimum of 190 hours of work that includes preparation, classroom work, simulation exercises, and work with real clients.
  • Attendance and preparation for all classes is mandatory.
  • You will have a standing, weekly meeting with Professor Tarr for which you must be prepare.
  • You are expected to comply with the required office procedures for the clinic
  • The grade will be based on your participation in class, your performance in real and simulated mediations, your preparation, your work with real people, your written reflections, your presentation, and all assigned projects.


  • As stated above, if you want to participate in this clinic, you must not have any classes or other conflicts after noon on Wednesdays or all day on Friday.

Pre-requisites and applications

  • There are no pre-requisites. Students who have had other mediation training will still be expected to participate in the full 40 hour training associated with this clinic.
  • Students may be asked to participate in a short interview as part of the application process.

MSU College of Law ADR Program

  • For more opportunities to learn about and experience ADR while at MSU College of Law, consult the ADR Program web page.