Aggie Dispute Resolution 2020-2021 Highlights

February 9, 2022


Mass Incarceration, Plea Bargaining, Negotiation Skills – and Cynthia Alkon

Professor Cynthia Alkon has been pivotal in drawing attention to plea bargaining: the critical intersection where dispute resolution dominates the criminal legal system. Law schools are adopting Professor Alkon’s groundbreaking book, Negotiating Crime: Plea Bargaining, Problem Solving, and Dispute Resolution in the Criminal Context (written with Professor Andrea Schneider), and prosecutors and defense counsel are calling for Professor Alkon’s insights.

She is making presentations around the nation to criminal defense lawyers associations, federal defenders, prosecutors, bar associations, and lawyers and judges focused on mental health issues in the criminal legal system. In addition, her work will be one of the exciting topics covered when Texas A&M hosts the Multi-Door Criminal Courthouse Symposium in late 2022, with speakers from around the world discussing innovative criminal processes, including problem solving courts and restorative justice.

Busy Week for Practitioner-in-Residence Colin Rule

Our new Texas A&M Practitioner-in-Residence, ODR expert Colin Rule, had a first week busy enough to test anyone’s bandwidth. Among other things, he made an in-person and Zoom presentation to introduce the school’s students, faculty and staff to the current status and future of online dispute resolution (ODR); presented to the students in Civil Procedure, Arbitration, and the Community Development and Entrepreneurship Clinic; discussed court-connected ODR with Texas Judges Ralph Swearingin and Matthew Wright and their court staff; organized and moderated two conference panels on improving diversity in arbitration; conferred with Texas A&M faculty about the areas of overlap between their scholarly interests and ODR; and advised the members of ADR competition teams.

Throughout the week, Rule also met one-on-one with JD and LLM students and faculty colleagues who have special interest in the use of technology in dispute resolution. One student described Rule as “an absolute gem” while another praised Rule’s “wealth of information and perspective on the evolution of DR in the world of virtual technology.” We all look forward to Rule’s return in February, when he will teach a new course, Online Dispute Resolution, and meet with even more community leaders, judges, lawyers, neutrals, faculty members and students.

Texas A&M Law Students Win Challenging FINRA Securities Triathlon

Three Aggies were named overall winners in the annual Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Hugh L. Carey Center at St. John’s School of Law in October 2021. Texas A&M’s team of 2Ls Baldemar Garcia, Bill Larimer and Madison Young, competing with students from eleven other law schools, were required to demonstrate their knowledge and skillful use of securities law and represent clients in three quite different processes - negotiation, mediation and arbitration. In addition, because this year’s problem specifically involved allegations of investment recommendations based on racist patterns and practices directly contrary to industry standards, the students were required to model how to have difficult, but essential, conversations about systemic racism. Texas A&M’s team was coached by the incomparable Kay Elliott.  The team alternate was Christyn Cavazos. In addition to winning the overall competition, Texas A&M placed first in the negotiation round and second in the mediation round.


ODR Expert Colin Rule Named Practitioner-in-Residence

Colin Rule — CEO of and — has joined Texas A&M University School of Law as Practitioner-in-Residence. Colin is also co-founder of Modria, Inc., an online dispute resolution (ODR) service provider that is now part of Texas-based Tyler Technologies, and he is co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection. Colin is renowned for his vision, collaborative spirit, and in-depth knowledge of the rapidly-expanding world of ODR. Aggie Dispute Resolution Director Nancy Welsh observes, “Our faculty’s dispute resolution expertise is broad and deep – including civil and criminal negotiation, mediation, and domestic and international arbitration. With Colin, we now offer unparalleled expertise in ODR.”

Colloquium Focusing on Diversity in Arbitration

Professor Michael Green, a prolific writer on the need for greater diversity among those selected to serve as arbitrators, will be featured in a November 2-3, 2021 colloquium, Improving Diversity in Arbitration. Among those joining him will be Practitioner-in-Residence Colin Rule and Professor Guillermo Garcia-Sanchez. The colloquium will be hosted online by and held in-person at the Texas A&M University School of Law Conference Center.

Learn More

Conversation With Carrie Menkel-Meadow

What is and is not “mediatable?”

How should we integrate dispute resolution into legal education?

What role can a commitment to diversity play in law school?

Find out how Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow answers these questions by watching her three-part video conversation with Professor Peter Reilly and two of our Law Review students: symposium editor Sarah Abdel-Motaleb and staff member Mark Gannon.

Their conversation offers a sneak peek at topics we’ll cover in our annual dispute resolution symposium to be held on March 4, 2022: The Renaissance Woman of Dispute Resolution: Carrie Menkel-Meadow's Contributions to New Directions in Feminism, Ethics, and ADR. Menkel-Meadow is UC Irvine Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Law. The symposium will be followed on March 5, 2022 by a regional dispute resolution “schmooze.”


Aggie Dispute Resolution Curriculum Expands

Anchored by its unique 1L ADR Survey course, Texas A&M Law has added three new courses to its expanding dispute resolution curriculum.

  • Last semester, Professor Cynthia Alkon created and taught Dispute System Design: Hot Topics in Criminal Legal Reform, a new course that reflects her focus on the intersection of dispute resolution and criminal law.
  • This semester, students are taking two new courses. The first is LARW III – ADR Drafting, an advanced legal writing course taught by Adjunct Professor Karen Washington that prepares students for the written products associated with client counseling, negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
  • The final new course is Dispute Resolution Skills Cross-Training, designed particularly for students involved in ADR competitions and taught by Adjunct Professors Sharmeen Ladhani and Judge Matthew Wright.

Meanwhile, Adjunct Professor (and competition coach extraordinaire) Kay Elliott jumpstarted this academic year with her annual ADR Boot Camp for competition students. The day included input from faculty members, team coaches, and recent Texas A&M Law graduates who have competed successfully in past competitions.

Professor Garcia-Sanchez in the News on Global Energy Issues and Dispute Resolution

Professor Guillermo Garcia-Sanchez is making headlines with his focus on the international legal architecture that regulates global energy, with an emphasis on investor-state dispute resolution.

Professor Garcia-Sanchez has been interviewed in 2021 on his current research on the ongoing energy disputes between U.S. investors and the Mexican government by Foro TV-Televisa, El Financiero-Bloomberg News Mexico, The Financial Times, and the Houston Chronicle – and the year isn’t over yet! His 2021 article, When Drills and Pipelines Cross Indigenous Lands in the Americas (SSRN), analyzes the legal conflicts that emerge — and their potential resolution — when energy infrastructure projects are built over indigenous lands.

In 2021 alone, Professor Garcia Sanchez has presented his current research at the SMU Dedman School of Law, the University of Colorado Law School Energy Scholars Workshop, and Boston College Law School’s Junior International Law Scholars Association Summer Workshop. He will also present later this year at the American Society of International Law Research Forum at the University of Miami School of Law and at the International Law Association American Branch International Law Weekend, hosted by Fordham University School of Law. In recognition of Professor Garcia Sanchez's work on international energy disputes, he was recently interviewed by Professor Amy Schmitz as part of her Arbitration Conversation series.  The interview will be posted at


Multiple Texas A&M Law Faculty Appear in New Dispute Resolution Books

This summer, two new dispute resolution compilations hit the stands – with nearly every Aggie Dispute Resolution Program faculty member contributing a chapter.

In June, Oxford University Press published Discussions in Dispute Resolution: The Foundational Articles. Edited by Art Hinshaw, Andrea Kupfer Schneider and Sarah Rudolph Cole, the book is organized around 16 foundational articles that appeared before 2000 and framed the dispute resolution field.

Notably, five of the six full-time members of the Aggie Dispute Resolution Program faculty authored chapters commenting on these foundational articles:

  • Cynthia Alkon (“Galanter’s Analysis of the ‘Limits of Legal Change’ As Applied to Criminal Cases and Reform”);
  • Michael Z. Green (“Framing the Debate to Show How Big Guys Insist That Little Guys Arbitrate as a Corporate Tool”);
  • Carol Pauli (“Tina Grillo: Productive Rage”);
  • Peter Reilly (“Machiavelli and the Bar: J.J. White as Negotiation Ethics Architect”);
  • Nancy Welsh (“The Untethering of Mediation from Relationships”).

Also in June, The Hill published Michael Z. Green’s opinion piece on the important topic of the need for greater diversity among arbitrators: “Arbitrator Diversity Matters for Justice Perceptions and Realities.”

In July, the ABA published Mediation Ethics: A Practitioner’s Guide, edited by Omer Shapira. Nancy Welsh authored the chapter focused on med-arb, which is a hybrid combining mediation and arbitration. Her chapter is entitled “Switching Hats in Med-Arb: The Ethical Choices Required to Protect Process Integrity.”

Now Available: Final Video Conversations on “ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era”

Texas A&M Law's final three video conversations with presenters and authors from ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era are now available.

  • Jonathan Cohen discusses the concept and rise of negative self-identity — how it contributes mightily to polarization and how it may be overcome. 
  • Baruch Bush and Peter Miller urge that mediators’ primary role should be to assist disputants to discover and express their own agency — and that mediators need to be ready to trust in such agency. 
  • Noam Ebner shares his ambitions for teaching dispute resolution to the world — not limiting ourselves (or the transformative power of our field) to law students, lawyers and courts.

These authors’ articles appear in a symposium issue of the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.

Texas A&M Law Wins National Mediation Competition

Isabelle Chapman and Taylor Garner were named national champions at the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s 2021 Mediation Representation Competition in April. Adjunct Professor Kay Elliott coached Texas A&M Law’s winning team.


More Videos: Promoting Productive Dialogue

We have posted more video conversations arising out of Texas A&M’s symposium on “ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era" (scroll down to Current Events), along with links to the symposium articles in the Texas A&M Law Review and the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.

Have you ever wondered how you, your students or your dispute resolution program could help your community engage in productive dialogue regarding some of today’s difficult issues? Have you wondered how to even begin that dialogue? I encourage you to view the inspiring exchange with Sharon Press, Nancy Rogers, Josh Stulberg and Bill Froehlich. Sharon (Using Dispute Resolution Skills to Heal a Community) describes the Dispute Resolution Institute’s involvement with the design, implementation and results of a series of community conversations after the death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Nancy, Josh and Bill (Sharing Dispute Resolution Practices with Leaders of a Divided Community or Campus: Strategies for Two Crucial Conversation) share insights from their experience with the Divided Community Project, focusing on the relevance of dispute resolution concepts for local leaders and - perhaps even more crucial - various means they have used (and we can borrow!) to reach those leaders.

Another video conversation just posted is with Howard Gadlin, former Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution at the National Institutes of Health. Our conversation with him, arising out his symposium presentation (The Center Cannot Hold) looks at the question of whether an ombuds can and should be “neutral” when it comes to advocating for certain social values. Howard urges that the ombuds role itself has normative underpinnings that are inconsistent with such an understanding of neutrality. The role requires a commitment to connection, inclusivity, omnipartiality. Howard also believes that the ombuds community in the U.S. may have made a mistake in failing to push for retention of the ombuds’ investigative function.


2020 Symposium Articles Available

The articles from the Texas A&M Aggie Dispute Resolution Program’s 2020 symposium — “ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era” — are now available online in the Ohio State Journal of Dispute Resolution’s symposium issue. Scroll down to “Current Events” and the description of the symposium. You can also access Jen Reynolds’ symposium article published in the Texas A&M Law Review and three of our video conversations with symposium authors and presenters. Three more of these video conversations are being edited right now and will be posted soon.

Many thanks to Chase Dean, the OSJDR’s Editor-in-Chief, for his hard work in getting the symposium issue published and making it available for posting now. Many thanks as well to our authors and presenters for their wonderful contributions.

Professor Nancy Welsh Receives Texas A&M 2021 Professorship Award

Three Texas A&M University faculty were selected for the 2021 University Professorship award, including Texas A&M Law's Nancy Welsh. University Professorships recognize faculty who have demonstrated significant and sustained accomplishments in their discipline and who have gained recognition both nationally and internationally. The award also acknowledges a commitment to inclusivity and diversity and excellence in teaching and service.


More Videos Posted

We’ve now posted two more recordings in Texas A&M’s video conversation series arising out of our 2020 symposium, ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era:

How does it feel for you when someone – a student, a colleague, a friend – asks you a genuinely curious question and really, really listens to you? How often does that happen in the midst of discussing a difficult subject? SMU Professor Jill DeTemple, in her video conversation with Peter Reilly and me, talks about “The Spaces We Make: Dialogic Classrooms and Social Transformation.” In the article, she discusses her use of reflective structured dialogue in the classroom and reports on research assessing the effects of creating a “culture of genuine dialogue.” Jill doesn’t exactly espouse separating the people from the problem. Instead, she says our focus has to be on “people before process” and “connection before content.” During our conversation, she even reveals what’s worked and hasn’t in her classroom dialogues on fraught topics like guns and race.

Deborah Eisenberg, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Piper & Marbury Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law, also talks with Peter Reilly and me about her article, “Beyond Settlement: Reconceptualizing ADR as Conflict Process Strategy.” What exactly do we mean when we refer to ADR? Is it just “not litigation?” How helpful is that conceptualization, especially in times of polarization? Deb argues that the term “ADR” has been applied to so many processes at this point that it risks losing any unique meaning at all – i.e., “genericide.” She counsels that now is the time to redefine our field’s overarching focus, not just analyzing the “how” and “when” of our processes, but also developing the theory that captures their “why” and what they “ought to be.” Very provocatively drawing from the Legal Process movement of the 1950s, Deb makes the opening bid in re-conceptualizing our field by proposing that we think in terms of “conflict process theory and strategy.”


Video Series and New Book

We have begun posting recorded video conversations with the presenters who participated in our planned March 2020 symposium ADR’s Place in Navigating a Polarized Era. First up is Professor Jennifer Reynolds, talking with Cynthia Alkon and me about her article “Talking About Abortion (Listening Optional)” published in the Texas A&M Law Review. Among other things, Jen discusses a brand new concept – the “listening dilemma.” Intrigued? We’ve got lots more of these video conversations in the pipeline, and we’ll keep you posted as we add them.

I’m also happy to announce the publication of a book that Howard Gadlin and I have co-edited, The Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution. The book features the narratives of 23 contributors – founders, thinkers, inventors, reformers, disrupters, transformers – thus allowing readers to explore the conflict resolution field’s real, on-the-ground reasons for being and evolving. Our contributors include mediators, facilitators, arbitrators, ombuds, academics, system designers, entrepreneurs, leaders of conflict resolution organizations, researchers, advocates for conflict resolution, and critics of conflict resolution. They share their personal and professional stories and the values, aspirations and characteristics of our field that inspired them to become involved, stay with the field, and wrestle with it. Howard and I were continuously inspired and affirmed by our contributors’ stories. We hope readers will have a similar experience – something that may be especially welcome at this difficult time.

And for those of you wondering who exactly is included in the book, they are: Peter Adler, Lisa Amsler, Johnston Barkat, Howard Bellman, Jackie Font-Guzman, Howard Gadlin, David Hoffman, Chris Honeyman, Carol Izumi, Marvin Johnson, Homer La Rue, Lela Love, Ian Macduff, Bernie Mayer, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Chris Moore, Lucy Moore, Geetha Ravindra, Colin Rule, Andrea Schneider, Tom Stipanowich, Ellen Waldman, and Nancy Welsh.

Professor Nancy Welsh Elected to the American Law Institute

Professor Nancy Welsh is Texas A&M University School of Law's newest member of the American Law Institute (ALI). ALI is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law, according to its website. Welsh is among the 36 members newly elected by her peers to the ALI in October.