Advocacy & Dispute Resolution
Popular culture often reinforces the image of a lawyer as a courtroom warrior and, in fact, many lawyers are litigators, using courts to resolve disputes. USF has a tradition of producing outstanding trial attorneys.
Our curriculum continues to offer a solid foundation for 21st century litigators with courses providing essential substantive knowledge and offering training in necessary skills. There are also numerous opportunities to broaden classroom knowledge and develop skills through simulations and hands on experience in live client clinical settings.
Even if you have a well defined interest in litigation, be aware that many litigators try cases only infrequently and that most cases are resolved during preliminary proceedings or through settlement. Thus, much of a litigators work involves case preparation and includes investigation, drafting and planning. In addition to taking Trial Practice or enrolling in the Intensive Advocacy Program, prospective litigators should consider such courses as Discovery and Law of Settlements along with other courses covering advanced topics related to civil procedure like Federal Courts.
While litigation remains a basic practice area, there is important and increasing emphasis on alternative ways to resolve disputes, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Many federal and state court systems have adopted Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs, and its widespread use in both the private and public sectors creates new opportunities and challenges for lawyers. ADR, though, is much more than an alternative to litigation and it is often used in transactional settings. For that reason, ADR courses should be of interest to any lawyer, including those who practice family law or who act as arbitrators or mediators.
The ADR Survey course introduces students to basic theory underlying the ADR processes. This may be followed by more specialized courses in arbitration, mediation, or negotiation. Students with an interest in a mediation or arbitration practice might then take one of the clinics focusing on application of mediation and negotiation skills including the Mediation Clinic or the Investor Justice Clinic.