My name is John Lande and I just became a blogger with BPLE. I want to tell you about my background and interests and the kinds of things I expect to write about in this blog. This post also includes links to some resources you might be interested in.
I taught at the University of Missouri starting in 2000 and I retired a year ago, beginning what I call “unbundled retirement.” I don’t teach or attend faculty meetings anymore, but I still want to stay involved in things that I care about.
Two years ago, I started blogging on Indisputably, a blog of law professors who focus on dispute resolution. I love blogging, which I will continue in retirement.
Here’s a link to my website, which includes more information about me and links to my publications, some of which are not on ssrn.
Focus on Dispute Resolution
My career has focused on dispute resolution. I graduated from law school in 1980 and practiced law for a while. I felt uncomfortable with the adversarial dynamics of legal practice and I took my first mediation training in 1982 and then practiced law and mediation for several years.
In 1989, I went to grad school in sociology at the University of Wisconsin, studying sociology of law and dispute resolution. For my masters thesis, I interviewed people who handled employment discrimination disputes within their organizations. For my doctoral dissertation, I interviewed business lawyers and executives about their attitudes about litigation and ADR.
Most people in the “ADR” field, including me, think that it is misleading to refer to it as “alternative dispute resolution,” but the label has stuck. I don’t think that there’s an ideal alternative and many of us simply use the term “dispute resolution” or “DR,” even though that’s problematic too.
Many people in the DR world think of “ADR” as involving neutrals (other than judges). But focusing only on neutrals doesn’t fit because unmediated negotiation is recognized as a major sub-field. Indeed, much of what we teach and do is advocacy in processes like mediation and arbitration. Here’s one post I wrote musing about what ADR is and isn’t and here’s another one. They reflect my view that lawyers and judges are dispute resolution professionals, not just mediators and arbitrators.
In the last decade, I wrote a series of articles about collaborative law and cooperative law, which are processes in which lawyers and clients start by trying to negotiate instead of starting in litigation and negotiating at the end of a case, after most discovery has been completed.
I think that these processes have real value though they are used almost exclusively in family law cases and only by agreement of both sides. Collaborative law involves a “disqualification agreement,” which precludes the collaborative lawyers from representing the clients in litigation if needed. This makes the process a non-starter for many lawyers and parties, especially in cases other than family law.
I wrote a book, Lawyering with Planned Early Negotiation: How You Can Get Good Results for Clients and Make Money, in which I applied some concepts from collaborative and cooperative law to describe an approach that lawyers can use unilaterally in any type of case. This book was based, in part, on interviews with lawyers who actually use this general approach as opposed to lawyering with unplanned late negotiation. I later did another study along the same lines based on more interviews with lawyers, Good Pretrial Lawyering: Planning to Get to Yes Sooner, Cheaper, and Better.
Focus on Legal Education
I developed and maintain a website, Dispute Resolution Resources for Legal Education (DRLE), which includes syllabi, teaching materials, and a list of DR programs and links. It also includes instructions for subscribing to a listserv promoting discussion of issues relevant to DR in legal education.
In 2010, I wrote my first article on legal education, co-authored with Jean Sternlight, The Potential Contribution of ADR to an Integrated Curriculum: Preparing Law Students for Real World Lawyering. This piece describes how ADR concepts and skills are integrated into other courses and suggests ways that this could be done more.
This article inspired the development of the Legal Education, ADR, and Problem-Solving (LEAPS) Project of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. LEAPS developed a great website with lots of resources about how to increasingly incorporate “practical problem solving” into law school curricula. Perhaps of particular interest to BPLE readers, this website has a list of textbooks in a wide variety of subjects which include a problem-solving approach as well as a list of colleagues who would be happy to help you incorporate problem-solving techniques in your courses in particular subjects (e.g., civ pro, contracts, etc.).
In 2012, I organized a symposium at Missouri entitled, “Overcoming Barriers in Preparing Law Students for Real-World Practice.” For the symposium, I wrote an article, Reforming Legal Education to Prepare Law Students Optimally for Real-World Practice, which incorporated major themes in the symposium and included my ideas about legal education reform.
That year I also started teaching negotiation and I experimented with lots of techniques in that course. In Teaching Students to Negotiate Like a Lawyer, which I wrote as I embarked on this experiment, I described these techniques. In Lessons from Teaching Students to Negotiate Like a Lawyer, I described what worked and what didn’t work so well the first time I taught it.
One of my major insights from this experience was the great value of using multi-stage simulations in addition to one-stage simulations. Most DR courses rely primarily or exclusively on one-stage simulations in which students are given fact patterns to enact for perhaps 10-60 minutes. While these simulations are useful in prompting students to get into roles of lawyers, clients, and others, students don’t get into their roles in single-stage simulations as much as multi-stage simulations.
I described my use of multi-stage simulations in the two articles I just mentioned about teaching negotiation. I prepared an eight-page document with suggestions for instructors who want to use multi-stage simulations in their courses. And I solicited descriptions from colleagues about how they use multi-stage simulations in a wide range of courses, which are posted on the DRLE website.
I recently wrote my “Last Lecture” article, summarizing advice for law students based on my teaching and scholarship.
Blogging for BPLE
As a blogger on Indisputably, I have written various posts about legal education, generally tagged “for teachers and students.” I have written some on particular topics that BPLE readers might be interested, including simulations, legal skills and techniques, and student assessment and grading.
I have occasionally passed along some posts to Mary Lynch that I thought BPLE readers would be interested in. After I wrote one recently, I thought it would make sense for me to post some myself from time to time.
By joining BPLE, I hope that I can serve as a bridge between faculty particularly interested in dispute resolution and those particularly interested in legal education issues. If you have some interest in DR, you might check out or subscribe to Indisputably. Conversely, I am encouraging my friends on Indisputably to check out or subscribe to BPLE.
I hope that you enjoy my posts. I welcome your comments online or off.