About the Dispute Resolution Program

By on / PON Dispute Resolution Program (DRP)

Co-Directors
Frank E. A. Sander
Michael Wheeler
Assistant to Professor Sander
Marilyn Uzuner
Assistant to Professor Wheeler
Mary Alice Wood

Multi-Door Courthouse
The “multi-door courthouse” — a concept originated by Dispute Resolution Program founder Frank E. A. Sander — offers a variety of resolution options (including litigation) to people who take their disputes to court.

For example, in Middlesex County Superior Court in Cambridge, Massachusetts, cases filed are selected for “multi-door” processing, and the disputants are offered the options of arbitration, mediation, case evaluation, or litigation. Sander served on the Planning Committee for the Middlesex County multi-door program.

In addition to his work on the Middlesex project, Professor Sander also served as co-chair of the ADR Task Force of the Commission on the Future of the Massachusetts Courts and is currently serving as vice chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Model/Uniform Mediation Statute
Professor Sander is currently serving as a member of the drafting committee of the ABA-National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws project to develop a uniform law on mediation.
Policy Negotiation

Stressing innovative consensus-building techniques, Professor Michael Wheeler designed and led an unusual policy dialogue at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over the last year. HUD officials frequently find themselves caught in the crossfire between home builders and affordable housing advocates and environmental activists trying to protect open space and prevent urban sprawl.

The Wheeler-led dialogue had two main goals: first, to identify initiatives that would better serve the interests of the parties; and second, to assess HUD’s potential role in supporting new consensus-building efforts.

International Activities
Faculty frequently are invited to consult with members of the judiciary, government officials, and others in many different nations on the use of ADR. For example, Professor Wheeler discussed the US experience with public-private partnerships and regulatory negotiation during a meeting in Santiago, Chile with Chilean business leaders and government officials. In 1999, Professor Wheeler keynoted a Zurich conference of European environmental policy teachers, and in 2000 he was a principal speaker in Milan at a conference promoting greater use of mediation and arbitration to resolve EC business disputes.

Professor Sander’s international ADR consulting itinerary in recent years has included South Africa, Japan, and Israel. He recently addressed the International Appellate Judges Conference — a group consisting of chief justices from around the world — on salient issues of court-related ADR. He was invited to speak at the Toronto conference by the Chief Justice of Canada. He also presented the keynote address (“The Challenge of Institutionalization: The US Experience”) at the first International Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution, held in August 1992 in Sydney, Australia. In addition he has offered five-day Mediation Workshops in Cambridge, as well as in Canada, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand.

Teaching Materials
Environmental conflicts and alternative dispute resolution are among the topic areas of cases Professor Wheeler has developed for an audience of MBA candidates and managers. These multiparty, multiissue cases, including teaching notes, are available from the Harvard Business School Case Clearinghouse.

Working in collaboration with colleagues at the Program on Negotiation and elsewhere, Professor Sander has helped to develop instructional videos on the use of ADR techniques.

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