Through the College of Law’s Dispute Resolution curriculum and experiential learning opportunities, students develop thoughtful, professional and skillful approaches to managing and resolving client problems and legal disputes. Dispute resolution concepts and skills are basic dimensions of legal education and as such, are a required component of first-year law studies. Further study in this area is available to upper-year students at our college through a number of courses. After first-year, students can build their own complement of advanced courses in Dispute Resolution to become skilled and reflective advisors, mediators and negotiators.

Dispute Resolution Curriculum Information

The first-year law curriculum focuses chiefly on doctrinal case analysis and legal skills that help lawyers create and present legal arguments. In contrast, the First-Year Dispute Resolution Program is about the lawyer-client relationship, at the heart of lawyering. In advancing clients’ interests, lawyers employ a wide range of advocacy skills: communication, problem-solving and negotiation skills, in addition to courtroom advocacy. This program introduces various processes and skills that lawyers use in resolving disputes. You will: 

  • be introduced to the continuum of dispute resolution processes
  • discuss and reflect on the various professional roles of a lawyer
  • gain practice in effective communication and negotiation skills
  • consider the ethical implications of the choices that lawyers make
  • experience problem-solving approaches in various settings

The program also forms the basis for upper-year courses in dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution theory.

The First Year Dispute Resolution Program is an intensive introductory program on dispute resolution skills and the role of the lawyer. This is a mandatory component of first year, and involves hands-on work, in addition to some instruction. Participation is assessed on a pass/fail basis. You will require a pass to successfully complete your first year of law school. During this week (typically scheduled in January), all other first-year classes will be cancelled, and you will be expected to participate fully in the program unless exempted for illness or other extenuating circumstances. 

Upper-year courses related to dispute resolution include:

LAW 430.3 – Negotiation
LAW 439.3 – Mediation
LAW 493.3 – Multiparty Negotiation
LAW 498.3 (Special Topics) – Conflict Resolution Theory
LAW 498.3 (Special Topics) – Mediation Advocacy Moot


Excellence in Dispute Resolution

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: Strengthening the Law School Experience - article by College of Law alumna, Katherine Bilson.
  • Law students participated in an annual Negotiaton Competition sponsored by Dentons Canada LLP on September 25, 2015 at the University of Saskatchewan. Competition winners advance to the American Bar Association Negotiations/Regional Competition with support from Dentons Canada LLP. 
  • Law students Christine McCartney and Natasha Singh earned bronze at the International Negotiation Competition held in Belfast, Ireland on July 3-7, 2012.  
  • Our college was the very first recipient of the national Louise Otis Award for Excellence in Mediation Education – a reflection of both the high calibre and advanced nature of our Dispute Resolution program.