As lawyers, we spend untold hours reading case law - stories of individual and collective disputes over time. We learn the rule of law and how the law is applied to the facts of those stories and we use that analysis to guide our practices and coach our clients. We learn to look at statutes, codes, and regulations in order to analyze problems and make recommendations that guide behavior. We are in the business, then, of conflict resolution - yet we rarely take the time to lay a proper foundation for that work.
Conflict work begins with the self: understanding one’s own innate responses and preferences when dealing with conflict. Accordingly, this class begins with self-assessment and self-reflective exercises designed to improve awareness of our triggers, blind spots and biases. The role of effective communication in conflict resolution will be central. The class will also examine the intersection between power and conflict, and the ways in which cultural and other specific identities may inform our experiences. Students in this course will improve their conflict competency - defined as the ability to identify and effectively respond to conflict - and will develop practical skills that correlate with better outcomes in personal and professional life.
Class sessions will be a mixture of lecture, small group discussion, simulation and role plays, and self-reflective exercises.