Slide Background

Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution
The Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution promotes scholarship and professional development and offers strategic consultation in the areas of advocacy and dispute resolution.

The center supervises the academic and administrative direction of Emory's Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques, which develops the advocacy skills of second- and third-year law students. The center also hosts applied research forums and conferences that elevate advocacy and dispute resolution through the examination of theory and application in case studies.

Online Advocacy Skills Center

The center maintains an Online Advocacy Skills Center that includes an advanced searchable archive of advocacy videos and materials designed to assist lawyers and advocates in their professional development in the areas of public speaking, trial advocacy, negotiations, and dispute resolution. The Online Advocacy Skills Center also lists Continuing Legal Education programs sponsored by the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution.

Strategic Advocacy and Dispute Resolution Consulting

The center's consultation mission is directed through two applied research projects. The Rule of Law Reform Project consults with governments and NGOs in developing nations to formulate and implement practical and lasting solutions to chronic injustices. The Consensus Project consults with state and local governments, faith-based and civic organizations, and civil rights and grassroots groups throughout the United States to develop and implement transformative solutions to conflicts arising out of the design and management of public policy formation and implementation processes.

Paul W. Zwier

Professor of Law and Director 

Faculty Profile »

Bradford Kessler

Bradford Kessler is one of Missouri’s preeminent criminal defense attorneys.  In over thirty-years of practice, Mr. Kessler has tried over 400 felony cases to verdict, including over twenty-five death penalty cases. He has taught at the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques since 1997 and has been a fellow of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution since 2010. In that capacity, he has taught judges, lawyers, and law students in Mexico and Russia, and has trained Chinese judges and law students from both Hong Kong and mainland China in Atlanta.

Alex Barney

Alex Barney became the first fellow of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution in 2008, when he helped to develop and run the Center’s USAID-funded project in Mexico City. He received his BA from Swarthmore College and is a 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Alex’s work as a Center for Advocacy fellow has included teaching as a visiting faculty member at Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, serving as a Carter Center election monitor in Lebanon, and teaching in legal education programs in Liberia and Russia. Since 2010, he has worked at the Karmel Law Firm in Chicago, a union-side labor and employment law firm.

Reuben Guttman

Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow

Faculty Profile »

Rule of Law Reform Project

The Rule of Law Reform Project (RLRP) studies the challenges related to the implementation of rule-of-law reform in post-conflict and developing nations.

Current Rule of Law Partnership Projects

Rule-of-law reforms have been a part of aid and development programs for the past several decades. As one noted writer has indicated, rule of law thinking is a necessary component in any discussion of foreign policy[1]. The UN has undertaken several large-scale rule-of-law reform projects, the World Bank rates countries based on their perceived level of rule-of-law, and countless other international organizations and actors are involved in the reform process. 

While this would seem to indicate that rule of law reform is well understood and to some degree formulaic, recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of efforts thus far. A 2006 study by the World Bank identified eleven problems with the implementation of rule-of-law reforms in post-conflict situations, including (1) lack of understanding as to how rule-of-law is actually developed, (2) lack of coordination among the various actors, (3) failure to take into account the local situation and involve local actors, and (4) unwillingness/inability to invest in long-term reform.[2]

The international community’s experience thus far has at the very least proven that reform is a complex and difficult process that cannot be distilled into a simple, one-size-fits-all formula. RLRP is well situated to meet the challenges posed by the complexity of the reform process and to make a significant impact in the field. As a part of the Emory University community, RLRP is able to increase understanding of rule-of-law reform through a multidisciplinary approach, inclusive of perspectives on law, economics, and social and cultural implications. We will focus our research activities toward understanding the complex and interdependent process of rule-of-law reform and toward creating models specifically tailored to be implemented by our international partners 

[1] Carothers 1998 p. 95

[2] Samuels 1996

Consensus Project

The Consensus Project consults with state and local governments, faith-based and civic organizations, and civil rights and grassroots groups throughout the United States to develop and implement transformative solutions to conflicts arising out of the design and management of public policy formation and implementation processes.

We believe that the best way to achieve an equitable and sustainable society is to promote dialogue, mediation, and collaboration as community engagement processes that further the goals of inclusive democracy and consensus building in the formation and implementation of public policies. The Consensus Project works at the national, regional, and local levels, establishing forums and networking with public policymakers, civil rights advocacy groups, and civic, faith-based, and business leaders to design community engagement solutions that acknowledge the complex interdependence within our society.

Examples of conferences coming out of the consensus project include

  • Health Care Solutions for Non-Documented Immigrants With End Stage Renal Disease, September 2010
  • USAID Conference on Rule of Law and the Mexican Drug War, September 2010
  • The Death Penalty and Race in Georgia panel discussion, February 2012
  • ACS Cosponsored Programs:
    • Civil Rights and the Access to Courts: Looking Back and Looking Forward, November 2010
    • Iqbal and Twombly and Access to Courts panel discussion, Fall 2011
  • “Hot Coffee” panel discussion, Fall 2011
  • In Defense of Women—Judge Nancy Gertner, Spring 2012

Conference and Forum Video Archive

Access to Justice Forum (September 29–October 1, 2010): Rule of Law Reform and Drug Trade: Challenges and Implications in Mexico and the United States

Access to Justice Forum (November 11–12, 2010): National Civil Rights Conference

Access to Justice Forum (September 21–22, 2011): Tort Reform and Access to the Courts

Access to Justice Forum (February 21, 2012)

Access to Justice Forum (February 24, 2012)

Access to Justice Forum: Combating Elder Abuse (October 11–12, 2012)