In ancient times, King Solomon of Israel was celebrated for his wisdom. According to tradition, King Solomon once presided over a dispute between two women, both of whom claimed to be a baby’s mother. When he decided to split the baby in two, the women came to their senses, and the child was given back to his true mother. In this case, the dispute was settled through arbitration. The king offered a solution, and the parties quickly settled on their own accord.
Dispute resolution has been around longer than codified law. Still, it is often treated like an afterthought. Some clients believe their claims are too important and complex to go through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. With the risk entailed in litigation, clients are increasingly turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to cut costs, stem bad blood, avoid bad press, and resolve claims faster.
These days, more disputes in areas like insurance, contracts, and intellectual property are being redirected from backlogged courts to ADR. Here, a less formal process enables clients to focus on identifying pragmatic alternatives and crafting agreements that serve all parties’ best interests. With the advent of technology, parties can even engage online without being in the same room. Thanks to its speed and flexibility, ADR has grown more attractive and accessible to attorneys and clients alike.
As part of its 2015 law school rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked specialty tracks like dispute resolution. Unlike its overall ranking, which weighs criteria like placement rates, LSAT scores, and assessments from law school deans, tenured faculty, lawyers, and judges, U.S. News calculates its specialty rankings strictly from votes submitted by legal scholars, with each voter able to nominate up to 15 schools. Based on the number of votes cast for particular schools, here is U.S. News’ ranking of the top 10 law schools for dispute resolution:
(Go to the next page for the top 10 schools in dispute resolution)