If the Quinnipiac University School of Law has a calling card, it’s the school’s Center on Dispute Resolution.
The center, founded in 1998, has helped lead Quinnipiac’s program in civil advocacy and dispute resolution to No. 12 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 law school rankings. The law school’s new dean, Jennifer Gerarda Brown, was the immediate past director of the center.
Now the center has two new codirectors. One of them is Charles Pillsbury, who is one of Connecticut’s pioneering mediators and a cofounder of the Connecticut Mediation Network. At Quinnipiac, his official title is distinguished practitioner in residence for dispute resolution. The other codirector is associate law professor Carolyn Kaas.
The center is designed to provide opportunities for both dispute resolution professionals and law students to engage in dialogue and attend training to develop knowledge and skills in the growing alternative dispute resolution field.
The center’s offerings include the Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop, a lecture series featuring nationally recognized scholars and practitioners. It also hosts a 40-hour mediation training course, which provides an introduction to mediation and conflict management for attorneys and other professionals.
In a Quinnipiac news release, Kaas said there’s growing emphasis on mediation and ADR in the legal field and in law school curricula. “It’s a complete revolution in legal practice,” says Kaas, who is director of clinical programs at the law school and also on the board of the Connecticut Council for Non-Adversarial Divorce. “It’s great to be one of a handful of schools already doing it.” Pillsbury, meanwhile, has worked as a mediator for 25 years. The former executive director and current treasurer of Mediators Beyond Borders International, Pillsbury is a founding member of the National Association for Community Mediation. He’s been teaching part time at Quinnipiac since 2010.
Kaas and Pillsbury both say they plan to expand the center’s educational and training role and enhance its collaboration with the university’s new medical school. Health care is an area where dispute resolution and mediation skills are greatly needed, according to Pillsbury.
“There are many sources of conflict,” he says, such as disputes involving patients, among providers and between health-care organizations and regulatory agencies. “These issues all have to be negotiated or, if negotiations fail, mediated, to avoid other more costly and time-consuming adjudicative processes.” •