The Dispute Resolution Clinic offers students a unique blend of both an in-house clinic and an external placement. Students serve as volunteer mediators in a variety of settings including the Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center and Toledo Municipal Court. Students mediate cases involving unruly and delinquent youth and small claims matters such as, consumer complaints, landlord and tenant disputes, automobile accidents, and minor criminal matters. In addition, students in the Clinic now offer mediation services “in-house” to the University of Toledo community.
The goals of the Clinic are to provide students with the opportunity to develop many of the skills necessary for success in the practice of law while providing a valuable service to the community. Skills such as effective listening and communication; interviewing, counseling, negotiating, problem-solving and alternative methods of dispute resolution are all developed through formal mediation training, classroom exercises, coursework and experience mediating actual cases. Students also enhance these skills through written assignments geared to encourage thoughtful reflection on the experience of the students in the role of mediator.
The Dispute Resolution Clinic is a one-semester, two-to-four-credit hour course open to upper-division law students. In preparation for fieldwork (mediation), each student must complete a two-day, 16-hour basic mediation course approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio. This training is held the week prior to the start of each semester. In addition, there is a weekly classroom component involving readings, lectures, simulations, videos and discussions, which is taught by full-time College of Law clinical instructor and Director of the Clinic, Maara Fink. Finally, students are required to spend approximately eight hours per week conducting live mediations. These mediations are conducted under the supervision of the clinical faculty.