Most lawyers, irrespective of their specialty, must negotiate. Litigators resolve far more disputes through negotiation than by trials. Business lawyers—whether putting together a start-up company, arranging venture financing, or preparing an initial public offering—are called upon to negotiate on behalf of their clients. Public interest lawyers, in-house counsel, government attorneys, criminal lawyers, tort lawyers, and commercial litigators all share the need to be effective negotiators.
This seminar, by combining theory and practice, aims to improve both the participants’ understanding of negotiation and their effectiveness as negotiators. Drawing on work from a variety of research perspectives, the readings and lectures will provide students with a framework for analyzing negotiations and tools and concepts useful in negotiating more effectively. In particular, this seminar will expose students to the problem-solving approach to negotiation. Accordingly, our main texts will be Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, and Beyond Winning, by Robert Mnookin, Scott Peppet, and Andrew Tulumello. An additional packet of readings will also be required for the course.
Participants will spend much of their time in a series of negotiation exercises and simulations, where, as negotiators and critical observers, they will become more aware of their own negotiation behavior and learn to analyze what works well, what does not, and why. Class sessions will be devoted to a combination of lectures, case simulations, discussions, and film clips.
The seminar is intensive (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for six sessions, spread over two weekends, plus a time to be scheduled by each student between the two weekends for videotaping and reviewing one negotiation). Full attendance and participation is required at all six sessions.
Grades are based on the quality of student participation and several writing assignments, including a final negotiation preparation memo and analysis of a video recorded negotiation.
By combining theory and practice, this seminar aims to improve both your conceptual understanding of the negotiation process and your effectiveness as a negotiator. The class should help you improve your ability to prepare for a negotiation, to engage others in joint problem-solving and decision-making, and to diagnose what is going wrong and what to do differently when negotiations break down. Most importantly, the course will equip you to continue refining your skills as you gain more experience.
More specifically, our goals are:
- To increase your awareness about negotiation and negotiating behavior:
- The pervasiveness of negotiation;
- The implicit working assumptions that underlie your behavior;
- Understanding others’ perceptions and reactions;
- The importance of process (how we negotiate): its effects on the progress of negotiations and the relationship between negotiators.
- To enhance your understanding of negotiation theory by providing:
- Exposure to social science research related to negotiation;
- Some basic organizing concepts;
- A common vocabulary to enhance preparation, negotiation, and review;
- Analytic tools for diagnosing problems and developing strategy.
- To enhance your skills:
- To assess the skills you have as a negotiator;
- To broaden your repertoire of effective techniques;
- To allow you to practice and experiment with skills;
- To work on bridging the gap between theory and practice.
- To help you develop some guidelines to improve your negotiation practice:
- There is no "best" way to negotiate in all circumstances, but you may be able to develop some general guidelines to structure your preparation for, conduct of, and review of negotiations.
- We will offer our own best advice based on research and experience, and encourage you to develop your own prescriptions.
- To learn from experience and from each other, so that we all keep getting better:
- To practice a cycle of Prepare Act Review;
- To help you apply what you learn so that you can keep improving after the seminar ends.