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Students in a seminar with David Stras, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme CourtThe Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution program offers students an advanced legal curriculum designed to enable them to step immediately into sophisticated litigation practice anywhere in the country. Students who complete Vanderbilt's program are prepared to enter legal practice with both a practical and conceptual understanding of the different methods that our justice system employs to resolve disputes. If a current student (1L, 2L, or 3L) plans to take approximately 20 hours of litigation-related courses prior to graduation, the student may list the Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program as an activity on her or his resume.

Students can fulfill the Branstetter 20-hour requirement through any combination of courses. We recommend taking at least 10 hours in your second year. All Branstetter students will take Evidence (4 hours). They also could take Complex Litigation, (3) and a skills class like Mediation (3) to round out the 10 hours. Short course and seminars vary from year to year. If a seminar or short course of particular interest is being offered in the coming academic year, you should take it.

Developing the Competencies Litigators Need

Students in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution program develop the core competencies essential to success as a litigator, including strong analytical, communication, negotiation, and writing skills. By placing litigation in the context of its role in the U.S. justice system, the program also teaches students what litigators do, how they interact with clients and other involved parties, and how litigation really works.

A Sophisticated and Challenging Curriculum

The Litigation and Dispute Resolution curriculum is organized around knowledge and practice. KNOWLEDGE classes are traditional law school classes which focus on the acquisition of substantive knowledge and analytical skills. Practice classes are courses which focus on the development of SKILLS and EXPERIENCE .