Millennials have been the subject of intense media scrutiny for more than a decade. Studies have examined their social, financial, technological, and work habits. However, few studies have examined this generation’s attitudes or proclivities towards civil litigation. Such an examination presents two problems: First, the absence of data on litigants’ age makes an empirical study virtually impossible. Second, generalizations about an entire generation are inherently problematic, glossing over countless cultural, economic, familial, and demographic differences. Nevertheless, this Article argues that millennials’ experiences and educations have primed them, at the margins, to avoid litigation more than prior generations. Instead, this generation will be more likely to select mediation when a formal method of dispute resolution is required. Mediation, with its emphasis on compromise and self-determination, comports with many millennials’ financial risk-aversion as well as their uniquely interdisciplinary educations. Finally, this Article suggests that law schools must redouble their efforts to adapt their curricula to this emerging reality—especially given recent sociopolitical discord. Such adaptations include a greater focus on process choice at the outset of a dispute, better integration of practitioners as teachers, and broader clinical opportunities for students to act as both neutrals and advocates in mediation.
Recommended CitationShawna Benston and Brian Farkas, Mediation and Millennials: A Generational Shift in Dispute System Preferences, 39 Pace L. Rev. 645 (2019)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol39/iss2/3