Nancy A. Welsh

Frank W. Elliott, Jr. University Professor, Professor of Law, Director of Aggie Dispute Resolution Program



“Legal procedures matter—because they deliver outcomes, of course, but also because procedures communicate whether you matter as an individual and whether decisions that affect you will be made carefully, inclusively and in an even-handed, respectful manner.”

Get to Know Nancy A. Welsh

What drew you to the law?

I was drawn to the law as I observed the men and women serving on the Judiciary Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives respond to the Watergate scandal. It was a very anxious time for our nation. But these Senators and members of Congress modeled a careful, bipartisan, deliberative process. I particularly admired the clarity of thought displayed by Senator Howard Baker when he pointedly described the central question as: “What did the President know and when did he know it?" I wanted to learn to think as clearly as that—and that’s when I decided to go to law school.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love the dialogue with students in and outside the classroom and the sense of adventure that emerges as we explore legal or dispute resolution concepts together. I particularly love those “light bulb” moments when a student suddenly sees the connection between two concepts, or realizes what she can accomplish with a particular question or the use of a particular rule of procedure. This is learning to “think like a lawyer.”

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Obviously, I hope they learn concepts that will enable them to practice law skillfully and ethically. But I also hope they see how they can embrace opportunities to connect with others, continue to grow and learn themselves, assume leadership roles, and affect the course of law and people’s lives in a positive way.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I practiced law as a corporate litigator with a Minneapolis firm and was lucky enough to be involved in both very large cases, like a federal securities class action, and smaller cases involving a whole variety of issues (e.g., contract, employment, First Amendment). I left the firm to join a statewide dispute resolution organization and became its executive director. There, I advised the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding the institutionalization of dispute resolution in the courts, was involved in research, and mediated, arbitrated, and trained many lawyers, judges and state employees in dispute resolution skills.

What are you passionate about outside the law?

I’m especially passionate about my family. My sons are now 25 and 21--which I find very hard to believe! One is an engineer and the other is planning to become an engineer.  I am also quite passionate about the field of dispute resolution and using these procedures for good.

What are your research interests?

My research focuses on negotiation, mediation, arbitration, judicial settlement conferences and dispute resolution generally, in both domestic and international contexts. I am particularly interested in the self-determination, procedural justice, and due process provided by these processes, and the consequences of their institutionalization in the courts and agencies.


Link to my publications.


  • Dispute Resolution
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation
  • Arbitration

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2017-present)
  • Director, Aggie Dispute Resolution Program
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2017-present)
  • Professor of Law & William Trickett Faculty Scholar
    Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law (2004-2017)
  • Visiting Scholar
    Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School (2016)
  • Visiting Fellow
    Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University-Bloomington (2016)
  • Visiting Professor of Law
    Tilburg University, Department of Private Law, The Netherlands (2006)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law (2002-2004)
  • Assistant Professor of Law
    Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law (1998-2002)
  • Visiting Professor
    Hamline University School of Law (1998)


  • J.D., Harvard Law School (1979-1982)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, in English and Political Science, Allegheny College (1975-1979)

Awards / Honors

  • Most Valuable Peacemaker Award, Pennsylvania Council of Mediators (2011)
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law (2010)
  • Fulbright Grant Recipient, The Netherlands (2006)
  • “In the Trenches” Award, Legal Education Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution (2005)
  • Selected as Leading Minnesota Attorney (based on survey of peers) (1997)

Other Professional Activities

  • Chair (2016-2017), Chair-Elect (2015-2016), Vice-Chair (2014-2015), Budget Officer (2013-2014), Executive Committee (2013-present), Council (2007-present), American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution
  • Co-Chair, Editorial Board, Dispute Resolution Magazine (201​2-201​5)
  • Advisory Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Joint State Government Commission of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2006-2016)
  • Chair, Chair-Elect, Association of American Law Schools Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Mediation Advisory Board, U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania