Hastings offered its first Negotiation course in 1980. As alternative processes such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration were used more and more to settle matters that were previously adjudicated, the need for training in the theory and skills of these forms of dispute resolution increased. To meet this need, Hastings established CNDR in 2003 to organize classes, research opportunities and professional programs for the study of these fundamental lawyering skills, bridging theory and skills.
In its short history, CNDR has been recognized by US News & World Report as one of the Top Ten ADR programs in the country. It won the Louise B. Otis Award for Excellence in Mediation Education in 2011 and again in 2013, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal gave its Excellence in ADR Education Award to CNDR in 2007. With the Office of International and Graduate Programs at UC Hastings, CNDR offers an LL.M degree to foreign attorneys with a specialization in Dispute Resolution and Legal Process. Lawyers from all over the world come to UC Hastings to study ADR, citing the wide selection of dispute resolution courses and its international reputation among practitioners. During the summer, CNDR holds its Court ADR Systems Design Institute for foreign judges and lawyers who want to implement ADR within their own countries. In addition, a 40-hour Mediation Certificate Training is offered for all professionals, domestic and international alike.
J.D. students may obtain a Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution concentration. Each year, over 500 UC Hastings students take one or more dispute resolution courses, including 20 sections of negotiation, and numerous advanced courses. The vast majority of CNDR's courses, including the basic negotiation courses, have 16 students or fewer. Discussion, reflective journals, videoed simulations, role plays and student presentations on current dispute resolution events combine for multi-faceted classroom learning. Core courses, such as Arbitration, Facilitation, Mediation and Negotiation, immerse students in both the theoretical and the practical aspects of dispute resolution and teach the skills and law necessary for sophisticated legal practice. The Mediation Clinic, the ADR Externship Program, graduate fellowships, advanced classes, independent study and research assistantships give students opportunities to study in greater depth and prepare papers - some for publication.
UC Hastings Negotiation and Mediation Teams travel domestically and internationally to compete in negotiation and mediation competitions. With hours of practice together, members of the team become close and form their own community within UC Hastings. Team members enjoy individual support, coaching and mentoring from volunteer alumni, faculty and local practitioners designed to maximize competitive performance, to increase understanding of legal problems and their practical implications, and to develop skills. UC Hastings has earned the superlative reputation as the team to beat at the dispute resolution competitions it enters.
CNDR maintains an extensive database of simulations, articles, teaching notes and syllabi for its faculty to utilize in their teaching. Faculty lecture widely, including at national and local bar associations, business schools and international meetings. CNDR's full-time faculty publish books and law review articles at schools such as Harvard and Stanford. Adjunct faculty are distinguished ADR directors, mediators and attorneys.