March 14, 2013

Which Top-Rated US Law School Programs for Dispute Resolution Have Ombuds for Students?

The US News & World Report has just released its annual ranking of the best law school ADR programs. The top eleven are a familiar bunch of names. What is surprising is that most do not have an Organizational Ombuds for students.

Here's the annotated list:
 1. Pepperdine University (Straus) -- No (Ombuds office closed in 2009)

 2. Harvard University -- Yes (Ombuds office serves all university stakeholders)

 3. University of Missouri -- No (Ombuds serves only medical center)

 4. (tie) Hamline University -- Yes (Ombuds office serves all university stakeholders)

 4. (tie) Ohio State -- No  (Ombuds office serves only faculty)

 6. Yeshiva University (Cardozo) -- No

 7. University of Oregon -- No (although plans to open an Ombuds office this year)

 8. Marquette University -- No (Ombuds office serves only faculty and staff)

 9. University of California (Hastings) -- No

10. Willamette University (Collins) -- No
11. University of Nevada--Las Vegas (Boyd) -- Yes (Ombuds office for all university stakeholders opened this year)
(US News & World Report.)

Related posts: Pepperdine Stays Atop List of Best Law School ADR ProgramsAnnual List of Top U.S. ADR Law Schools Largely Unchanged (2011)US News & World Report 2012 Ranking of ADR Grad Programs.


  1. Pepperdine is the real irony, considering how many of its graduates are working as OO's.

    -The Angry Ombuds (not a Pepperdine alum)

  2. The ADR Prof Blog ( says the other ranked programs are:
    12. (tie) Quinnipiac -- No Ombuds
    12. (tie) Fordham -- No Ombuds
    14. Suffolk -- No Ombuds

  3. Tom -

    For some research I did about three years ago regarding OOs for law firms and at a law school, had me asking University OOs who "covered" law schools how many cases came there way from the Law School. Of the 10 I asked the total of cases from Law School students was ZERO.

    This is a huge hole and a huge issue.

    It is also why I asked Michael Moffitt, the then rising Dean of the University of Oregon Law School if he would launch a program when he spoke to the IOA conference in Portland. (His response is he would want to do it with the whole University, not independently, so as not to be further isolated from the University.)

    Without a coordinated strategy for where the ombuds field wishes to grow, and without addressing the particular challenging areas (law schools, law firms, fortune 100s, new economy companies) the field will continue to remain relatively small.

    John W. Zinsser
    Managing Principal
    Pacifica Human Communications, LLC.

    Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
    Columbia University