Stone Soup Dispute Resolution Knowledge Project

The Stone Soup Dispute Resolution Knowledge Project developed an extensive set of materials for faculty to help their students get a better understanding of the real world of practice.  The materials were published in a series of Indisputably blog posts.

Most of the Stone Soup assignments were in traditional dispute resolution courses, though faculty can use them in many traditional law school courses, as described below.  Although these materials are oriented to US law school courses, faculty in other disciplines and countries are encouraged to use and adapt these materials.

Most of the assignments involve interviews of practitioners or disputants, though some involve observations.  This post provides a complete set of documents to plan a Stone Soup assignment.  It includes:

  • Guidance in developing these assignments
  • A general model for an interview assignment
  • Guidance for students in conducting and summarizing interviews
  • A model invitation for an interview
  • A summary of professional ethics rules about confidentiality
  • Model paper format
  • Two sample grading rubrics
  • A consent form for students who want to share their papers publicly

This post provides a set of questions can ask practitioners about how they prepare for negotiation or mediation.

This post presents a collection of assessments of Stone Soup assignments by faculty who used them in their courses.

This post provides specific suggestions based on faculty assessments.

Based on the faculty assessments, this table identifies characteristics of Stone Soup courses and provides links to faculty assessments of the courses.  For each course, the table shows:

  • Class size
  • Whether the assignment was required, an option, or extra credit
  • Paper length (if any)
  • Due date
  • Percentage of the grade allocated to the assignment (if any)
  • Whether the assignment was discussed in class

This post describes how faculty could use Stone Soup assignments in first-year law school courses.  It includes model assignments tailored to contracts, property, torts, civil procedure, and criminal law courses.  The post suggests that faculty require students to do interviews in these courses (or court observations in criminal law courses) but not require students to write papers or be graded on these assignments.  It explains why students can get a lot of benefit from doing these assignments very early in a course, before they learn the legal rules.

This post suggests ideas for faculty to use Stone Soup assignments in second- and third-year courses.  It provides specific suggestions for administrative law, bankruptcy, business organizations, commercial transactions, consumer protection, employment discrimination, evidence, family law, insurance, interviewing and counseling, labor law, landlord-tenant law, pretrial litigation, professional responsibility, real estate, tax, and trusts and estates courses.  Faculty could use Stone Soup assignments in other upper-level courses as well.  As with first-year courses, faculty may want students to conduct interviews or observations early in the course and without requiring students to write papers.

This post includes exemplary student papers from negotiation, trusts and estates, and evidence courses, published with the students’ consent.  These papers provide ideas about what faculty might want students to discuss in their papers.  Faculty could suggest that students might use certain papers as models.