This fall, Texas A&M Law welcomed two legal scholars to its Dispute Resolution Program.
Nancy Welsh, previously professor of law and William Trickett Faculty Scholar at Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law, has joined the faculty as professor of law and director of Texas A&M’s nationally ranked dispute resolution program.
International petroleum transactions and arbitration scholar Guillermo Garcia has also joined the faculty as associate professor of law. Garcia earned an S.J.D. from Harvard Law School earlier this year and won the John Gallup Laylin Prize for Best Public International Law Written Work.
With Welsh at the helm, Texas A&M is launching a number of new program initiatives. Chief among them is the expansion of dispute resolution courses available to Texas A&M students earning a J.D. and the Master of Jurisprudence.
“Beginning this academic year, all of our first-year law students will learn about the continuum of dispute resolution processes in a required one-credit survey course,” Welsh said.
This course is in addition to a newly-offered mediation workshop, conducted by mediation textbook author and former ABA Section of Dispute Resolution chair Kimberlee Kovach, and offered to upper-level students in both August and January.
“By the time the students reach second year, they understand that mediation is a regular part of legal practice in Texas,” noted Welsh. “The survey course introduces them to mediation, while the workshop gives students an opportunity to develop the critical skills needed to effectively mediate and represent clients.”
Upper-level students also may take a new two-credit course focusing on the theory, law and ethics of mediation.
The Israel field study, co-led by Welsh and Professor of Law and Natural Resources System Program Director Gabriel Eckstein, will focus on regional disputes related to water and energy resource management. Through on-site visits to various Israeli and Palestinian ministries, non-government organizations, and water and energy-related facilities, students will explore water and energy procurement, development, and distribution in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as well as associated environmental concerns. They also will examine the challenges that resource scarcity, political instability, differing cultural norms, and other factors play in natural resources management and consider applicable domestic and international laws and dispute resolution mechanisms.
“This field study will be a deep dive into the regulatory, political, and environmental issues at play,” Welsh said. “The current disputes over seawater desalination and its attending environmental impact are very timely, and will give our students insight into the nuances of dispute resolution in a different part of the world that cannot be replicated in the classroom.”
The Scotland field study, meanwhile, will introduce students to the use of international commercial arbitration.
“Arbitration has long played an important role in dispute resolution in Scotland and, as a result, Scotland has developed its own body of arbitration law,” said Executive Professor of Law Randy Gordon, who will lead the course. “As part of our field study in Aberdeen, we will examine the particulars of the Scottish arbitration scheme and how it fits within and diverges from the international commercial arbitration system.”
In addition, the Aggie Dispute Resolution Program is in the early planning stages of organizing a Spring 2018 symposium exploring the use of dispute resolution to respond to natural disasters.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, it’s clear that we need access to processes – like mediation, arbitration, innovative court procedures and even online dispute resolution – to help people and regions with recovery,” Welsh said. “We look forward to bringing together lawyers, judges, governmental officials, neutrals and academics to identify best practices.”
This story originally published on the Texas A&M University School of Law website.