The USC Gould School of Law has received a $5 million gift to launch the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program preparing students in arbitration and mediation, an emerging area of law.
The gift — the third largest in the law school’s history — was made by Judith O. Hollinger ’61, a retired Los Angeles Superior Court and Beverly Hills Municipal Court judge.
Known as the Judge Judith O. Hollinger Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, the program is one of the few of its kind in the nation.
The main point is to resolve cases through settlement and not clog the court system.
Judith O. Hollinger
“I am proud to play a role in helping to educate the next generation of lawyers in the important field of alternative dispute resolution,” Hollinger said. “Students will learn how to settle a variety of matters out of court ranging from personal injury, construction and even criminal cases. The main point is to resolve cases through settlement and not clog the court system.”
High costs of traditional litigation and often lengthy proceedings have driven parties to choose mediation over traditional court proceedings. The visionary program, which will launch this year, will train future lawyers to arbitrate, mediate and negotiate settlements outside of court.
Dean Robert K. Rasmussen expressed the vital role of this gift, saying USC Gould is devoted to real-world training of future lawyers. The new program, he noted, fits perfectly into the school’s mission.
“In the coming decades, leading litigators will require deep knowledge of ADR, and USC Gould is on the forefront,” Rasmussen said. “This gift is truly impactful, and we are so grateful to the generosity of Judge Hollinger.”
A leader in mediation
In the past several years, USC Gould has become a leader in mediation and alternative dispute education. In 2007, it launched the Mediation Clinic, where law students learn mediation skills and conduct live mediations at the Los Angeles Superior Court. In 2011, USC Gould was selected by the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee as the winner of the ADR Education Award, based in part on its innovative work in designing and developing the Mediation Clinic and Advanced Mediation Clinic.
The new program will further enhance USC Gould’s mediation curriculum by introducing an ADR certificate and a variety of new courses in arbitration and mediation.
Adjunct faculty members Richard Chernick, Barbara Reeves Neal, Nathan O’Malley and Jules Kabat will teach new ADR courses. The program will be overseen by USC Gould Professor Lisa Klerman, who directs the Mediation and Advanced Mediation clinics.
The skills learned in ADR programs are highly relevant to all legal careers, from litigation to transactional to business to criminal law, Klerman said.
It fulfills an educational gap in this enormously impactful area that is going to increase in importance in the future.
“It fulfills an educational gap in this enormously impactful area that is going to increase in importance in the future,” she said. “Listening, negotiating and problem solving are competencies any good lawyer should acquire.
“The new program will not only teach these skills, it will also create opportunities for our students to develop professional contacts,” she explained, “and it will make them attractive job candidates following graduation.”
A history of mediation
USC Gould has a history of training successful mediators, including the Hon. Dorothy Nelson ’56 (USC Gould’s former dean), Richard Chernick ’70, the Hon. John K. “Jack” Trotter (Ret.) ’62, Charles Bakaly Jr. ’52 and the Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian (Ret.) ’65.
“Judith Hollinger’s gift exemplifies philanthropic leadership,” said Chernick, incoming chair of the Board of Councilors at USC Gould and who frequently has been recognized as a top alternative dispute practitioner. “She is a true visionary.”
The new program will complement the law school’s existing certificate programs for business law and for entertainment law.
An upcoming honorary event will be held for Hollinger and to celebrate the launch of the naming of the ADR program.
In 2014, USC Gould launched its $150 million campaign initiative; the Hollinger gift will contribute toward that endeavor. The law school’s initiative is part of The Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world.