Hands-on Lawyer-Mediator Experience Outside the Adversarial Arena


Oftentimes in the law reaching a fair resolution among competing interests is as important as finding the right legal answer.

Fordham Law’s Mediation Clinic provides students with hands-on lawyer-mediator experience outside the adversarial arena but connected to the court system.

The Mediation Clinic offers students the opportunity to learn and practice lawyering skills that help parties resolve their disputes through problem-solving processes rather than through litigation.

Students are trained in mediation skills and deal with a range of topics including use of the caucus, breaking impasse, implicit bias and ethical challenges. Small Claims Court cases from Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island are assigned by the New York Civil Court under the Court’s presumptive mediation program. Using a co-mediation model, students mediate a wide variety of conflicts under faculty supervision. Disputes range from issues related to inter-personal relationships to employment, contract, and medical malpractice.

Students will work with a co-mediator partner in actual mediations, on either Zoom or by telephone, learning to view dispute resolution in ways other than litigation or adversarial tactics while enhancing communication, facilitation, consensus-building, and process management skills. They will also explore the legal, policy, and professional responsibility issues of mediation practice with an emphasis on the role of the attorney as a neutral third party facilitator.

Professor Nolan-Haley's international work, notably in Northern Ireland, and Ghana has encouraged mediation practitioners and dispute systems design specialists to broaden their perspectives regarding the multiple, valued ways in which persons can use the mediation process to enhance human understanding and dignity.