Top 10 Law Schools for Dispute Resolution

Law school dispute resolution programs train future lawyers in resolving client problems by avoiding litigation, implementing processes like negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, instead. Dispute resolution skills are increasingly vital in today’s legal landscape—courts are actively seeking ways to reduce their increasing caseloads, clients often prefer to reach a desirable outcome ahead of litigation, and the vast majority of cases (over 98%) never go to trial or arbitration.
Most law programs will have at least one class that students can take that covers dispute resolution topics, but some law schools are known especially for elective programs in these skills. Here are the top 10 law schools (12, actually, because of ties) as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, as well as the median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs of recently accepted students. 
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10. (tie) University of California—Hastings


UC Hastings College of the Law is located in San Francisco and has developed an international reputation for its Center for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution. In addition to training students in dispute resolution skills, the center hosts an array of projects and events throughout the year in partnership with local non-profits, commercial Advanced Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers, and government agencies. Any student may tryout to join the UC Hastings Negotiation and Mediation Team, which competes at events sponsored by bar associations, law schools, and international business organizations. 
The UC Hastings entering class in 2019 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.45 and a median LSAT score of 158.

10. (tie) Northwestern University


Northwestern Pritzker School of Law has a concentration in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution in which students take a series of foundational courses and then have the opportunity to curate their curriculum from advanced electives, such as Dispute Resolution in Sports. Students gain practical experience by participating in externships with attorneys and judges in Chicago.  
The Fall 2018 entering class at Northwestern Law has a median LSAT score of 169 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.84.

10. (tie) Arizona State University


The Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has developed a national reputation for its excellence in the field of dispute resolution through its Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center, which focuses on studying the nature of conflict. The center houses the school’s Lodestar Mediation Clinic, two Moot Court Competition Teams, and the student-run Dispute Resolution Student Association. The school also offers a standalone Master of Legal Studies (MLS) with an emphasis in Conflict Resolution—an 18-credit degree that is completed mainly online. 
The JD Fall 2018 entering class had a median LSAT score of 163 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.76.

8. (tie) Yeshiva University (Cardozo)


Cardozo School of Law’s Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution awards a Certificate in Dispute Resolution to students who complete the requisite elective coursework and service. In addition to its array of alternative dispute resolution courses, the program houses four clinics, including the Divorce Mediation Clinic and the Securities Arbitration Clinic. Students run the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, which is published three times a year and is ranked eighth in the nation in Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution.
The Cardozo School of Law 2019 entering class had a median LSAT score of 162 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.6.

8. (tie) Marquette University


Marquette University Law School’s Dispute Resolution Program is headed by Professor Andrea Schneider, who was the 2017 recipient of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work. The Milwaukee-based school also awards a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution to students who complete a focused course of study. Marquette University Law students can get practical experience in the Small Claims Mediation Clinic, working at the Small Claims Court that is two blocks from the school.
The Fall 2019 entering JD class at Marquette had a median LSAT score of 154 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.45.

7. University of Oregon


University of Oregon’s School of Law houses a Master’s program in Conflict & Dispute Resolution. JD students can complete a concentration by taking a series of nine elective courses, including participation in the Small Claims Mediation Clinic, Probate Mediation Clinic, or Nonprofit Clinic. Because of the wide array of courses available, students can tailor their curriculum to their field interests.
The Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 157 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.38.

5. (tie) University of Nevada—Las Vegas


The Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law hosts conferences, workshops, competitions, classes, and courses in the study of the nature of conflict and ADR, with particular expertise in Arbitration, Client Counseling, Mediation, and Negotiation. Interested Boyd students can complete a Dispute Resolution Concentration, which includes writing and presenting a paper. The Saltman Center also hosts a Summer Institute each year with intensive short courses.
The entering class in 2019 had a median LSAT score of 159 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.69.

5. (tie) Mitchell Hamline School of Law


Saint Paul, Minnesota’s Mitchell Hamline School of Law has a Dispute Resolution Insitute that issues four certificates to JD students in Advocacy and Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution, Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice, and Global Arbitration Law and Practice. Students interested in completing one of these certificates may do so as a part of their regular curriculum, or through the school’s Summer Institute, January Term, or through study abroad programs in London and Jerusalem. 
The median LSAT score for the entering Fall 2019 class was 152 and the median undergraduate GPA was 3.23.

3. (tie) University of Missouri


Faculty at the University of Missouri School of Law identified a gap in the way law schools were teaching future lawyers problem-solving skills and founded the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution as a result in 1984. 1Ls are introduced to the principles of conflict in their Lawyering course, which they take in their first semester. Students can tailor their curriculum with a broad range of dispute resolution courses in their second and third years. Mizzou Law also runs a study abroad program in South Africa at the University of Western Cape in Capetown, which includes a course on comparative dispute resolution.
Students who recently enrolled in Mizzou Law had a median LSAT score of 157 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.49.

3. (tie) Harvard University


Harvard Law students can gain practical experience in dispute resolution through the Harvard Mediation Program, which is part of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. Students partner with community members to mediate court cases in the Boston area and private conflicts outside of the legal system on a wide range of issues. A sampling of relevant courses at Harvard Law includes Contemporary Dilemmas in Dispute Resolution; Diversity and Dispute Resolution; and Principles of Dispute Systems Design.
The Harvard Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT of 173 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.89.

2. Pepperdine University


Pepperdine Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution has held the #1 spot in the U.S. News and World Report rankings for 13 of the past 15 years. JD students can earn a Certificate in Dispute Resolution or pursue a joint Master of Dispute Resolution degree. Students gain practical experience in one of the school’s four dispute resolution clinics, such as the Investor Advocacy Clinic and the Fair Employment and Housing Mediation Clinic. 
The Pepperdine Law entering class in 2019 had a median LSAT score of 161 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.66.

1. Ohio State University (Moritz)


Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law awards a Certificate in Dispute Resolution to students who complete an elective course of study in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques, which includes taking the school’s Mediation Clinic, where students mediate actual disputes in Columbus court systems. Moritz is also known nationally for the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, and students can earn credit towards their degree by working as a staff member or an editor for the journal. 
According to the school, the typical median LSAT score for incoming students is 161 and the median undergraduate GPA is 3.69.