Dispute Systems Design Clinic

Students in the Dispute Systems Design Clinic advise clients on how they can more effectively engage conflict within an organization. Students may assist an organization in conducting a conflict assessment, designing a dispute resolution system, assessing an ongoing set of dispute management processes, or resolving a current conflict or series of conflicts. Students will augment the skills and concepts learned in Negotiation Workshop with a new set of skills that may include conducting interviews for stakeholder assessments, facilitating learning dialogues, running focus groups, leading teams, and presenting to clients. Past clients include federal and state agencies, nonprofits, religious organizations, transnational corporations, small start-up companies, professional sports teams, municipalities, local government officials, and universities.

Students in the clinic will have the chance to manage senior level client relationships and are asked to work through difficult concepts and problems directly with clients and their clinical supervisor. Students work in a team of 2 to 4 students, typically collaborating on single project for one client during the entire semester. By working for a single client, students have the unique chance to collaborate on a project from start to finish.

Students will meet weekly with their project supervisor. Additionally, they will meet with their client weekly or bi-weekly. They will also meet and work with their team members. All of these meetings count towards their weekly clinic hours. There are no proscribed clinic hours—students arrange these meetings according to their class schedules. In these ways, the Dispute Systems Design Clinic provides learning opportunities in many arenas that are challenging to come by in law school including: working on teams, client management, interviewing skills, and facilitating groups, skills graduates will use immediately and throughout their careers in a law firm, a non-profit, a corporation, and many other organizational settings.

Credits: The DSD Clinic can be taken for between 2–5 credits. Each credit equals 4 clinic hours (2=8, 3=12, 4=16, 5=20). Because our clients and their presenting questions are real and we expect students to be responsive to them, we strongly recommend registering for a minimum of 3 credits.

Required Class Component: In the Fall semester, the co-required seminar is Principles of Dispute Systems Design (2 fall classroom credits). The clinic and seminar are bundled; your enrollment in this clinic will automatically enroll you in the required seminar. In the Spring semester, the co-required course is Dispute Systems Design Seminar (2 spring classroom credits). The Clinic and DSD are not bundled. You must register for each separately. Students enrolled in the Clinic are guaranteed a spot in DSD.

Pre-Requisite: The Negotiation Workshop. Students must enroll in Negotiation Workshop separately from, and prior to, Clinic enrollment. There is no Clinic preference or priority to enroll in Negotiation Workshop.

Add/Drop Deadline: The add/drop deadline for the Fall 2019 clinic is Friday, August 16, 2017. The add/drop deadline for the Spring 2020 clinic is Friday, December 6, 2019.

LLM Students: LLM students register for classes during the summer prior to their LLM year. We hold 2 places for LLMs in the Spring Clinic only. LLMs interested in the Spring Clinic must apply and be accepted to the Winter Negotiation Workshop. They must also send a resume and one-page statement of interest to the Clinical Coordinator, Tracy Blanchard (tblanchard[at]law[dot]harvard[dot]edu) when they register for classes.

Students who enroll in this clinic may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement.

Enrollment in this clinic may fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement depending on project assignment. Please contact the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (clinical@law.harvard.edu) for more information.

Other Clinics at Harvard