Academics and Training

The Kheel Center trains students and lawyers to understand and adopt the skills and processes necessary to succeed as advocates for their clients in a variety of settlement forums. Courses, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs, and research and publishing opportunities offered by the Kheel Center concentrate on a variety of skills that the new lawyer in the age of climate change and dwindling resources will require, such as:

  • understanding different forms of dispute resolution and conflict management – processes and theories
  • client counseling and client representation, understanding business models and business interests, dispelling misconceptions and negative biases about ADR, and understanding the costs and benefits of ADR
  • special Skills in fact-gathering, inquiry, marshalling, analysis, issue identification, problem solving, joint fact-finding, framing and reframing, and deliberating in the face of complexity and scientific uncertainty
  • understanding pre-assessment, stakeholder identification, issue identification, creating fair processes, scheduling, deadlines, sequencing issues, addressing informational asymmetry, agreement drafting, and post agreement processes
  • personal skills including empathy, active listening, diplomacy, coalition building, psychology of problem solving, and creation of trust
  • understanding the lawyer’s role in creating new forums of discovery, learning, and settlement

Examples of disputes to be studied for training and education include:

  • water allocation & reuse
  • utility permitting
  • siting alternative energy facilities
  • environmental justice
  • metropolitan area development/infrastructure
  • sea level rise
  • natural disaster mitigation
  • regional impact developments
  • green development
  • watershed & large landscape management
  • open space protection
  • land acquisition for conservation purpose


Courses at Pace Law School


Environmental Dispute Resolution - This course explores the common characteristics of environmental disputes and introduces students to a range of resolution options -- from rights-based approaches, such as litigation and appellate advocacy, to interest-based approaches like consensus building, mediation and facilitation. The course examines the roles that lawyers play in these varied approaches. A major theme of this course is comparing the advantages and disadvantages of adversarial and collaborative approaches in environmental conflicts. The course will use mock negotiations, mediations, facilitations, and consensus-building exercises to build in students the skills used by neutral third parties and legal counsel for the parties to resolve disputes. The course also will emphasize the role of legal advisors for  key focus of this course is transmission of the skills used by lawyers to transform adversarial interactions into collaborative interactions. It will include consideration of a number of factors in addition to the law that must be considered when resolving environmental interest disputes.

Mediation and Arbitration - This course examines federal and state law regarding arbitration and mediation and compares these systems of dispute resolution to litigation. Also examined are the techniques, rules, procedures, lack of rules of evidence, roles of the parties, counsel and neutral, participation in a mock mediation and/or arbitration, attendance at an actual arbitration and how to become an arbitrator mediator.