» Advocacy & Dispute Resolution Emphasis Program

The Advocacy and Dispute Resolution program is designed for students who will pursue a career in litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution that might include work in arbitration or mediation. Students who complete the required courses will graduate with a certificate designating competence in the Advocacy and Dispute Resolution fields.  This certificate program complements Chapman’s overall commitment to train competent, ethical lawyers by offering foundational courses that are fundamental to virtually all areas of legal practice. 

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Certificate Requirements

Successful completion of the Advocacy and Dispute Resolution Emphasis Program requires the law student to
  • Earn a minimum 2.6 overall cumulative GPA
  • Earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in the certificate courses
  • Complete the three (3) core courses (Trial Practice, Negotiations and Client Interviewing and Counseling)
  • Two (2) additional approved electives

Core Courses

Trial Practice (3)
This is a practical skills course in advocacy which introduces students to the fundamental components of a typical civil and criminal trial.  It requires students to perform exercises involving each component, and try a mock civil or criminal case from provided problem materials.  The course requires student participation in discrete exercises, including jury voir dire, opening and closing statements, and direct and cross-examination.   Prerequisites: successful completion of Evidence.

Negotiations (3)
Practice preparing for and conducting legal negotiations.  Discussion of negotiations theory, strategy, communications skills, and ethical issues.  Students negotiate several different types of situations, both transactional and in anticipation of litigation.  Students research the problems to be negotiated, and prepare various written products, which may include drafting a contract, evaluations of each negotiation, and/or  a final analytical paper discussing some aspect of the negotiations process.

Client Interviewing and Counseling (3)
Students will learn and practice skills involved in interviewing and counseling clients.  Through the course of the semester, students will take one simulated case from the initial phase of gathering and evaluating facts supplied by a client, conduct substantive legal research, write a memorandum to the client file, and provide oral and written advice to the client based on consideration of facts and applicable law.  The course will focus on interpersonal aspects of client relationships as well as ethical problems that may arise in the context of client representation.  Students participate in simulated interviews and counseling sessions, portraying both client and attorney.  Students will be videotaped in at least one interview or counseling session and will complete several written products,  including a client letter, a  memo to the file, and papers analyzing the lawyering process from the perspective of both attorney and client. 

Approved Electives

The electives allow students to elect a further focus. For example, students who wish to emphasize Alternative Dispute Resolution might select Mediation and Arbitration. Students planning to become litigators might choose Pre-trial Practice and Advanced Evidence or Appellate Practice. Students who expect to work in small firms or to open a solo practice would find Law Practice Management highly relevant. Clinical and Externship opportunities would also be chosen based on the student’s preferred area of practice.

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Clinic (e.g., Elder Law, Tax)
  • Practice Foundations: Criminal Litigation
  • Pre-trial Civil Practice
  • Selected Externships
  • Competitions

Specific offerings will vary from year to year, depending on periodic rotation of electives, instructor availability, student interest, and scheduling dynamics. Visit the course descriptions page for more information.

Learning Outcomes

The law school faculty have identified the following learning outcomes as critical to a law degree and to developing the skills needed to become a proficient attorney.

  1. Graduates will be able to communicate effectively across a variety of legal contexts.
  2. Graduates will demonstrate civility, ethics, and professionalism across a variety of legal contexts.


Faculty members have extensive professional experience in various areas of advocacy and dispute resolution.

Contact Us

For more information on the advocacy and dispute resolution emphasis please contact,
Nancy Schultz
Professor of Law
Phone: (714) 628-2527
Email: nschultz@chapman.edu

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Students in a classroom.

Legal Clinics

Find out more about our Elder, Tax Law, and other Clinics.


Externships are an excellent way to gain experience in professional legal settings.

Lawyering Skills Competition

Did you know that graduates who participated in the Lawyering Skills Competition have been much sought after in the hiring community?