Public Policy Dispute Resolution

Public Policy Dispute Resolution

​How does a local government resolve conflicts most effectively?  By ensuring citizen participation--and by developing proven problem-solving methods.

The Government Law Center's innovative Program on Public Policy Dispute Resolution provides governments at all levels, special interest groups, businesses, communities and individuals with a vehicle to develop cost-saving, effective dispute resolution techniques. Our dispute resolution professionals assist in both the design of appropriate intervention models and the skills training necessary to make those models work.

The program offers:

  • Basic and advanced mediation training.
  • Facilitation services for municipalities that need an objective forum to discuss hotly contested  issues.
  • Negotiated rulemaking for state and federal agencies. This involves bringing all stakeholders together in a collaborative process to draft or revise regulations.
  • Facilitated meetings for local, state and federal governments. For example, the GLC helped the Federal Highway Administration draft a "welfare-to-work" policy.
  • Effective strategies for citizen participation.
  • Customized mediation services.

The Program on Public Policy Dispute Resolution is growing in four major areas:

  1. Intervention services including mediation, facilitation, arbitration, consensus building, design of citizen participation models and negotiated rule making.
  2. A resource center that serves as a clearinghouse where individuals, offices, agencies or  institutions can gather information on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques and ADR systems design.
  3. Skills-centered training offering custom-designed conflict resolution training programs planned in consultation with the client.
  4. A forum supporting education, policy dialogue and analysis.

Staying Informed

The GLC continually hosts training programs dedicated to such topics as advanced, managerial, community and environmental mediation; and basic and advanced negotiations training.  For example, the GLC as offered a 25-hour advanced mediation training course for administrative law judges and staff attorneys at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Other clients have included the New York State Unified Court System, the State Department of Public Service, and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the GLC's Mediation Assistance Program provides students from Albany Law School and other area colleges and universities with training and practical education in mediation techniques.  Our Comprehensive Best Practices Manual was designed to assist other law schools in setting up similar programs.

A Success Story: Cutting-Edge Mediation Services

In a groundbreaking initiative for the Government Law Center's mediation Assistance
Program, the GLC has been awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) to establish mediation assistance networks at other law schools.  Albany Law School is working in conjunction with Georgia State University School of Law, Indiana School of Law-Indianapolis and Syracuse School of Law.

The project is based on a program in which Albany Law School involved students from other area colleges and universities in providing mediation services for an undeserved population, the tenants of the Albany Housing Authority.

In the current project, each network selects and trains law students and undergraduates in mediation skills, and then provides opportunities for the students to use these skills in a community service setting.

The evaluation component of the program will include pre- and post-training, in-service, classes, on-site experience, outreach work, curriculum development and institutionalizing the program.

The formation of this unique interdisciplinary, intercollegiate program has attracted the attention of other schools across the country, several of which have expressed an interest in using the Albany Law School program as a model to create their own programs.