Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution

What We Do

The Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution educates aspiring lawyers and accomplished practitioners in the essential values and effective skills necessary to resolve clients’ legal problems in today’s practice of law. The Carey Center is named in honor of the late Hon. Hugh L. Carey '51, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the 51st Governor of New York. A master of the better win, Governor Carey was known for helping to save New York City from bankruptcy during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

About the Carey Center

Lawyers are problem solvers. The Hugh L. Carey Center educates aspiring lawyers and accomplished practitioners in the essential values and effective skills necessary to resolve clients’ legal problems in today’s practice of law. Although images of lawyers cross-examining hostile witnesses and making verdict-winning summations to a jury dominate media representations of the law, the practice of law today bears little resemblance to those depictions. In today’s legal reality, most lawsuits are settled and fewer than five percent go to trial. 

To practice effectively today, a lawyer must not only know how to resolve his client’s legal problems in court, but also how to negotiate settlements out of court. Today’s settlement-focused legal practice also requires lawyers to be knowledgeable about the different dispute resolution processes that may help resolve a client’s case: arbitration, negotiation, mediation, summary jury trial, mini-trial, early neutral evaluation and online dispute resolution. What an exciting time to become a lawyer!

Clients, too, are seeking lawyers who are problem-solvers. As clients become more attuned to the costs of litigation, lawyers can no longer focus on winning at all costs. Instead, the lawyer of today must know how to work with her client and the other side to achieve a better win. Achieving a better win requires working with the client, the other party, and the other party’s attorney to select an appropriate dispute resolution process to achieve the most effective and expeditious solution, all the while respecting the humanity and dignity of all.

Whether you're interested in a career in international law, corporate, bankruptcy, criminal, labor and employment, public interest, family, intellectual property or have not yet decided your practice area of choice, the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution will educate you about the problem-solving advocacy and dispute resolution skills you will need to become an effective lawyer in both the domestic and global arenas of today’s legal practice.

Your dispute resolution education begins when you are a 1L

With its mission of developing conflict resolution as both a value and a practice in students' professional lives, communities, and the world, the Carey Center offers courses, conferences, clinics and co-curricular activities that make the Law School a leader in the growing field of alternative dispute resolution. 

During your first year as a St. John’s Law student, your dispute resolution education begins with the 1L January intersession course, Lawyering. This intensive, interactive course introduces you to negotiation skills and the companion skills of interviewing and drafting through a combination of lectures, exercises, and simulations.

Following the completion of Lawyering, first-year students are invited to participate in the 1L Internal Negotiation Competition. This is a great opportunity to hone your  negotiation skills learned in Lawyering and receive invaluable feedback about your negotiation.

Interested students are also invited to apply for membership in the Dispute Resolution Society (DRS).

Learn More

We encourage you to explore our site to see the many ways we promote conflict resolution as a value and as a practice. To support the Carey Center and its initiatives, please visit the Law School's online giving page or contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at [email protected] or 718-990-5792.


Our Program

The Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon is a joint initiative of the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). For two days, student teams from law schools around the country meet to test their advocacy skills in the negotiation, mediation and arbitration of a securities dispute.

The Triathlon is not a competition of physical endurance, but of dispute resolution competence. Students play the roles of attorneys and clients, with some teams in the role of investor and others in the role of broker-dealer. Members of FINRA’s roster of experienced neutrals serve as mediators, arbitrators and judges, critiquing the student teams and offering the students an invaluable real-life experience. By challenging students to negotiate, mediate, and arbitrate in a single competition, this one-of-a-kind event gives students an opportunity to hone their advocacy skills in a realistic and comprehensive securities dispute experience.

Teams are composed of three students, and the competition takes place over two days. On Saturday morning, one student plays the role of attorney, one plays the role of client, and one plays the role of settlement counsel as the teams negotiate. Saturday afternoon, the students switch roles and engage in a mediation. On Sunday, the teams arbitrate, with one student attorney conducting direct examination, one student attorney conducting cross-examination, and one student playing the role of client.

Three judges drawn from FINRA's roster judge each of the rounds.  Awards are given for Excellence in Negotiation, Excellence in Mediation Advocacy, and Excellence in Arbitration Advocacy, as well as the award to the Triathlon Champion and the Advocate's Choice Award, which goes to the team voted by the competitors as having the highest degree of skill, competence and professionalism.

St. John's boasts a wealth of faculty with expertise in the field of Dispute Resolution.  The Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution is guided by:

Elaine M. Chiu
Elaine Chiu teaches a wide range of classes including Family Law, Criminal Law, Comparative Criminal Law, Introduction to Law and Contemporary Criminal Justice. She incorporates dispute resolution skills in her Family Law course with a negotiation simulation. In her scholarship, Professor Chiu focuses on the intersection between family law and criminal law. Most recently, she has written about domestic violence and the legal regulation of culturally motivated parenting. Professor Chiu is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Cornell University and was a state prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for several years upon graduation. Additionally, Professor Chiu has taught at Cardozo School of Law and Harvard Law School.

Christine Lazaro
Christine Lazaro is an experienced securities dispute resolution advocate. She supervises students in the Securities Arbitration Clinic and coaches dispute resolution competition teams.

In addition, St. John's boasts an impressive roster of full-time faculty members who teach, write, and/or practice in the field of Dispute Resolution, and contribute their energies and expertise to the growth of Dispute Resolution at St. John's, including:

Patricia Montana 
Professor Montana currently teaches Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II, and Drafting: Federal Civil Practice. As the Director of the Street Law program, she teaches the Legal Education in the Community seminar and oversees the law students’ teaching at a local high school in Flushing, New York. Professor Montana’s scholarship focuses on legal writing theory and pedagogy as well as professional skills instruction. Professor 

Mark L. Movsesian
Mark Movsesian teaches International Commercial Arbitration, as well as Contracts and Comparative Law & Religion.  A former clerk to Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court, his publications have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Virginia Journal of International Law, Washington & Lee Law Review, and Cardozo Law Review, among many others.