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Clinical Law Review

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Most law school mediation courses teach a set of problem-solving skills that are seen as useful in lawyering and that are also taught in other lawyering skills courses. By contrast, some mediation courses present a relatively new approach called "transformative mediation" and teach a different set of skills focused primarily on "interactional support" rather than on problem solving. This Article argues that these interactional support skills are also useful in lawyering, especially in client-centered practice, and therefore courses that teach these skills should also be welcomed in the law school skills curriculum. Part I offers a summary of some of the primary skills taught in transformative mediation and clarifies how they differ from the problem-solving skills taught in a conventional mediation course. Part II suggests that "client-centered lawyering", an approach advocated by many lawyering skills teachers, shares some fundamental premises with transformative mediation. Part III explores in depth how each of the primary transformative mediation skills can be of practical value in legal practice, at many stages of a case - from the client interview, to the development of case theory, to settlement discussions and oral advocacy - especially for lawyers practicing client-centered lawyering. Part IV offers a model for integrating an introduction to client-centered lawyering skills in the design of a course on transformative mediation. Having shown how the interactional support skills taught in transformative mediation courses add concrete value to the lawyer's performance of key tasks, the Article argues that the inclusion of transformative mediation courses in the curriculum, along with existing skills courses, will enhance overall training for lawyering practice.



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