Dispute Resolution

Including Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration

Regardless of the legal practice area you choose, you must be familiar with ​​dispute ​resolution, which is sometimes referred to as "ADR" ​or "Alternative Dispute Resolution," but here at Texas A&M Law, we call it "Aggie Dispute Resolution." Dispute ​resolution procedures include negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Today, the vast majority of legal disputes are resolved outside the courtroom through dispute resolution.

  • A negotiation is a conversation among the parties to (hopefully) achieve consensus on a particular solution to the matter or conflict. It usually involves generating many possible ideas and making various adjustments and compromises until everyone agrees to a given outcome.
  • A mediation is a facilitated negotiation, meaning a neutral third party (or “mediator”) works with the disputing parties and helps them achieve a negotiated solution to the problem.
  • An arbitration is a mutual agreement among the parties to select a neutral third party (or “arbitrator”) to decide how the dispute should be resolved in an informal process or conference room hearing that usually takes far less time than court, as rules of evidence and procedure can be far more relaxed.

These dispute resolution processes will be a part of every area of practice, from family law to business and criminal law. Indeed, even trial lawyers — practitioners who go to court more than any other kind of attorney — must be familiar with ​dispute resolution processes given that each year in Texas less than 1 percent of civil cases and only 3 percent of criminal cases go to jury trial. The remaining 97-99 percent of cases are resolved through disputer resolution procedures.

Core Courses

Here is a list of courses that every law student should take (depending on your area of interest):

  • ADR in the Workplace Seminar
  • ADR Survey (required 1L course)
  • Advanced Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation Theory & Practice Practicum
  • Special Topics in Negotiations Seminar
  • The Business Negotiator

Recommended Courses

Below are recommended courses that are related to ADR. You should choose courses that interest you or that will further your career objectives.

  • Labor Negotiations Workshop
  • Family Law & Benefits Clinic
  • Litigation Practicum
  • Sports Law
  • Texas Criminal Law Practicum
  • Trial Advocacy Practicum


Several of our clinics give you negotiation and mediation experience with real parties. Learn more about our clinical opportunities.


Learn about current externship opportunities by contacting Ms. Cecily Becker at cbecker@law.tamu.edu.