Mediation Clinic.

Mediation Clinic

The increasingly vital craft of mediation and interest-based negotiation is the focus of the School of Law’s Mediation Clinic; working on cases referred by local courts or other mediation agencies, students help resolve disputes in family law, small claims and the community.

Mediation is becoming an extensively utilized dispute resolution tool as Federal and State Courts establish mediation referral programs and as clients are increasingly hiring private sector mediators to avoid costly court battles and to maximize results. The best way to understand mediation is to actually be in the mediator’s chair with real parties. It is vital that new lawyers are cognizant of what mediation is all about, whether they want to possibly make mediation part of their future law practices, or simply know enough to effectively advise and assist their clients at mediation sessions.

Contact Us

Steven Sugarman, Director

University at Buffalo
School of Law
507 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100

Our newest initiative, Virtual Small Claims Mediation Program, helps parties settle their small claims disputes. The Clinic offers free, confidential mediation sessions through videoconferencing to those who wish to participate.

If you wish to are participate, please contact us through our Small Claims Interest Form.

What is Mediation Student Engagement Small Claims Mediation Resources

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduling of small claims court trials has been on hold for many months. At this point in time, there is no definite time that the local courts will resume scheduling trials. You may still have several months before this matter is heard by a Judge.

However, there is a way of addressing and potentially bringing closure to your pending small claim quickly and fairly -- through mediation.

The UB School of Law Mediation Clinic is pleased to announce our innovative “Virtual Small Claims Mediation Program” to help parties settle their small claims disputes. Through this program, we offer free, confidential mediation sessions through videoconferencing to those who wish to participate. The Court does not require you to participate in mediation; it is a voluntary process. However, experience shows that mediation is an effective means to reach fair settlement agreements on terms the parties themselves decide, without facing the delay in getting into court or the risk of the unexpected result from court.

Our mediations are conducted by law students trained in mediation skills whose role is to guide a discussion between the parties in hopes of reaching a written, binding agreement. The mediators are neutral and do not take sides or make any decisions for the parties. Rather, the mediators help parties engage in productive negotiations of their conflict. If the mediation results in an Agreement, the mediators write it up, have the parties sign it electronically, and it is submitted to the court with no need for a future court appearance. If the mediation does not result in an agreement, the claimant has the right to continue to pursue the matter in Court (whenever the Court begins to schedule trials in the future). Anything said in mediation is confidential and cannot be used against you if the matter does not resolve in mediation and goes to trial.

If you are interested in participating in our Virtual Small Claims Mediation Program, please visit our interest page. At your request, we will contact the opposing party in your dispute to determine if they wish to participate in mediation. Once both sides have agreed to participate, we will schedule the mediation via an online videoconference.