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Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Lawyers often help their clients solve problems and handle disputes with other parties. Central to being able to accomplish these tasks is the ability to file a lawsuit against the other party. Every lawyer should have a basic understanding of how this is done. However, most lawsuits are settled before the lawyers for the parties step foot in a courtroom. Further, many disputes are concluded without the intervention of a lawsuit through alternative methods of dispute resolution. All lawyers should also have a basic understanding of these methods. Therefore, students with interests in all areas of the law should consider taking basic courses in this area to help them understand how to help their clients solve problems and handle disputes.

Further, students who believe that litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will be an important part of their law practice should strive for a well-rounded legal education because practitioners in these areas often handle cases in a wide range of subject matters. Litigation and ADR practice, therefore, requires practitioners to have the ability to continually learn about new areas of law that are implicated in the cases they handle. Further, virtually every lawsuit involves tax implications, so basic tax classes are also important to litigation and ADR practice.

Students build a foundation in this area in their first year by taking Civil Procedure, Legal Research and Writing, and Advocacy. Further, all students learn basic skills in interacting with clients, an important aspect of solving problems and handling disputes, in the Client Counseling Course. Important upper-level classes in this area include Evidence, Federal Income Tax, and Trial Practice. The College also offers many avenues to obtain and practice litigation and alternative dispute resolution skills through simulation classes, Moot Court, the Trial Practice Competition Team, and our clinics. Further, students can get a birds-eye view of the court system by participating in the Judicial Externship Program. Practice Ones, associated with many substantive law subjects, often give instruction on how to handle disputes and counsel clients in various topics. Because writing is also central to this area of the law, students should use every opportunity to improve and practice their writing and advocacy skills.


  • Administrative Law
  • Appellate Practice and Procedure
  • Business Basics for Lawyers
  • Business Tax
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Complex Litigation
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Electronic Discovery: Procedural and Evidentiary Issues
  • Evidence
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Federal Courts
  • Intensive Practical Lawyering Skills
  • Legal Drafting
  • Mediating in Neutral
  • Negotiations
  • Pretrial Litigation
  • Remedies
  • Tax Law: Practice One
  • Trial Practice
  • Witness Preparation

Sample Student Schedule

Linked here is a sample of a student schedule of a fictitious student who is interested in a practice with a heavy emphasis on litigation and ADR. This is designed to give some idea of the many ways courses can be woven into a curriculum designed to build your knowledge of litigation, ADR, and other areas of the law, prepare you to take a bar exam, and help you acquire professional skills. You can create many wonderful schedules that include these courses. This one is merely a sample that, frankly, should only be used to spur your ideas of the best curriculum for you. You may also want to discuss your scheduling choices with professors, practitioners, upper-level students, and Dean Oliver. Please remember that you must ensure that your schedule will meet all the requirements for graduation. Also remember that the classes listed in this sample schedule may not be offered in the particular semester shown here while you are in law school and that the number of credits may vary from year to year.

John Pelam — Student interested in litigation for a law firm or governmental agency

Other Student Learning Opportunities

Competition Teams

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Centers and Institutes


Other Student Activities

Student Organizations — sampling

* See complete list of student organizations.

Volunteer Opportunities — sampling

* Get more information about volunteer opportunities.


Marjorie Corman Aaron
Professor of Practice and Director, Center for Practice

Mark A. Godsey
Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director,
Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for
Justice/Ohio Innocence Project

Ann Hubbard
Professor of Law

Bradford C. Mank
James B. Helmer, Jr. Professor of Law

Michael E. Solimine
Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law

Recent Student Stories

Greg Laux '12. March 30 marks the start of the 25th Annual August A. Rendigs, Jr. National Products Liability Moot Court Competition, a special event for the Moot Court Program and the College of Law. The two-day event will also mark the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work for Greg Laux the Rendigs Competition Director. Since the first day after last year’s competition, Laux has been planning and coordinating this year’s event. (Read more)

Luke Anderson ’11, Emily Vance ’11, Emily Barth ’11advanced to the “Elite Eight” in the prestigious Regional National Trial Competition held in February 2010. They became the first team in the College of Law’s history to go undefeated in this prestigious competition and the first team to advance to elimination rounds. A very hard fought trial against a well-seasoned and accomplished Michigan State University team unfortunately ended the run of victories. However, the experienced judges, including a sitting U.S. District Court Judge who presided, told the students it was a very close decision and praised their efforts. Region 7, which includes UC, perennially generates some of the top teams in the country including 2009 national finalists from the University of Kentucky. Several coaches at the Region 7 competition commented that the UC Law program has already proven it is "here to stay" and the College's investment in the program is yielding surprisingly quick results. (Read more)

Peter Link ’10. As a participant in the law school’s Indigent Defense Clinic, Link has accomplished a task that few lawyers, let alone law students, ever achieve. His appeal in State v. Kenneth Hodge was accepted by the Supreme Court of Ohio, giving him the opportunity to argue an important constitutional issue before the Court. The Indigent Defense Clinic allows supervised third-year law students to represent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Hamilton County. The Clinic is a cooperative effort of the law school, the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, and the local private defense bar. Link spent many hours fine-tuning the research for his appeal, crafting a theory of the case, and drafting Mr. Hodge’s Motion in Support of Jurisdiction. “Peter gave it his all,” said his supervising attorney, Janet Moore. “He quickly adapted litigation skills that we teach for trial practice to the appellate context. His hard work and preparation paid off.” (Read more)

UC Alumni Careers

Some Places our graduates have worked include:

  • Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister LLP
  • Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP
  • Keating, Muething, and Klekamp
  • Ohio Attorney General's Office
  • US Attorney's Office

Ann Taylor '92.While current students interviewed for summer associate positions over the past month, Ann Taylor, a 1992 graduate of the law school, celebrated 15 years of work at Lord, Bissell & Brook LLP in Chicago. (Read more)

Patricia Laub ‘83.Louisville, Kentucky native Patricia Laub ‘83 came to Cincinnati and the College of Law after attending the University of Dayton, graduating with a degree in political science and a minor in philosophy. During her time at UD, Laub met her future husband, David, to whom she has been married for 31 years. (Read more)

James B. Helmer, Jr. '75.Helmer is a highly accomplished attorney of 34 years who focuses his practice exclusively on litigation. He has successfully represented clients in numerous civil rights, personal injury, securities fraud, admiralty, and business lawsuits. Approximately half of Mr. Helmer’s practice involves the representation of employees “blowing the whistle” on fraudulent government contractors. Mr. Helmer has obtained several multi-million dollar jury verdicts and has been trial counsel in over 300 published legal decisions. In 1985, 1986, and 1989 he testified before Congress concerning amendments to the False Claims Act and all of his suggested changes were ultimately enacted into law. Last year, Mr. Helmer argued and won the Allison Engine case before the United States Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision against former solicitor general, Theodore Olson. Congress again sought his help in 2008 and his testimony then helped shape the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009. (Read More)

Lou Gilligan '68.Distinguished Alumnus Lou Gilligan ’68 hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Scranton, a Jesuit college in upstate Pennsylvania, where he majored in business management. After finishing his undergraduate studies, Gilligan debated between getting an MBA or law degree, or entering the workforce right away. (Read more)

Other Resources