Archived Newsletter: Volume V - Issue II
Dear friends of HNMCP,
It’s been a busy spring semester here in Cambridge.
Following the launch of our own new website in March, we also joined forces with the Harvard Law School Case Studies initiative in an effort to make available to a larger audience the new cases, exercises, and videos that we have been developing in our clinic. At the HLS Case Studies website, you will find many of the case studies and role plays HNMCP has written in addition to some written by close colleagues affiliated with HNMCP. These materials will now be made available for use by others in their courses on negotiation, mediation, facilitation, or dispute systems design. To find out more about this new initiative, read the story in this newsletter.
This spring we began a new brown bag lunchtime discussion series that examines current events through the lens of negotiation, mediation, and ADR. Each session broke open a particular news story and then asked how scholars and practitioners of negotiation and mediation might view the events and how we might be able to help push toward an integrative solution. In our inaugural semester of the series, we held sessions on:
- the showdown between Catholic bishops and the Obama Administration relating to the administration’s position with respect to insurance coverage and access to reproductive healthcare;
- negotiations involving Greece and its ever-worsening debt crisis;
- what negotiations might have ensued had the Republicans been forced into a brokered convention;
- strategic approaches to dealing with Iran on nuclear weapons.
Of course, we also continued the regular work of the clinic through six exciting client projects! This May clinic teams traveled to present their findings and recommendations to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in Washington, DC and to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in New York City. In addition, one of our clinic teams delivered a specialized training to lawyers and NGOs negotiating on behalf of disabled persons in China. This project was in cooperation with the Renmim University School of Law Disability Clinic, currently directed by HNMCP alumnus Alonzo Emery ’10. Details on all this can be found in the article about our Spring 2012 projects.
This issue also features interviews and updates with:
- Leah Kang ’12, who reflects on how her negotiation skills will help in the public interest work she is pursuing after graduation in our Student Spotlight;
- Debby Gelber, who discusses the effects of a fall HNMCP project on the Cornerstone Village Cohousing in our Client Spotlight;
- Rachel Viscomi ’01, who looks back on the fabulous career she has had in negotiation and dispute resolution since her graduation from the Law School in our Alumna Spotlight;
- the Harvard Mediation Program (HMP) and the Harvard Negotiation Law Review (HNLR), two student groups who report on their spring events.
While summer can be a quiet time for many in academia, HNMCP will be abuzz with activity. We are busy putting together our roster of fall projects, preparing for the second iteration of our new Multiparty Negotiation Class, and continuing to work on a number of research and writing projects. We are also pursuing initiatives for clinic expansion and growth. To that end, I am pleased to report that Dean Minow has authorized us to hire a new clinical fellow later this summer. We hope to list the opening for this position by the end of July. If you are interested in joining HNMCP, please keep your eye on the Harvard University Employment site as all applications are required by the university to come through the ASPIRE system.
Finally, I would like to offer my appreciation and warmest congratulations to Tracy Blanchard. As many of you know, Tracy is our Program Coordinator. This year the Harvard Law School Class of 2012 selected Tracy as a finalist for the Suzanne Richardson Staff Appreciation Award, conferred each year at Class Day. It is a special honor to be named a finalist, and particularly rare for a staff member in a small clinic who does not generally come into contact with large numbers of the student body. So I am particularly happy for Tracy and pleased by this news.
As always, I enjoy hearing updates on what you’ve been up to and I welcome your feedback on our work.
We really enjoyed the diversity of our projects this spring, which called on a variety of skills such as curriculum development, stakeholder and systems assessment, and facilitated dialogue. HNMCP students assisted with the difficult conversations around health care for a religious institution and the struggles of lawyers and NGOs in China working in disability law. They assessed dispute resolution systems embedded in government agencies as well as whether the formation of a peer-to-peer DR system was the right place for a university to sink its energies. And they assessed the burgeoning efforts at online dispute resolution in the EU and made recommendations to the United Nations. Each of HNMCP’s six projects has provided students with a unique set of challenges and clients.
Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has traditionally required congregations to cover 100% of the health insurance premiums of clergy and lay employees. Recently, the Diocese considered a change in the policy which was met with strong reactions and divisive conversations. HNMCP students interviewed clergy, lay employees, and congregation members to determine the interests and values underlying the compensation issue. In April, the students presented their findings and recommendations for how the Diocese could engage stakeholders in a productive conversation. As a part of their recommendations, the students modeled a facilitated dialogue between clergy members over the health care premium issues.
Michigan State University College of Law
MSU College of Law is interested in creating a peer mediation program to empower students to resolve their issues in an informal process that encourages shared communication, learning opportunities, and creative and lasting solutions. HNMCP students conducted a conflict needs assessment with the students, faculty, and staff to determine whether peer mediation would be a useful way of managing conflict at the law school and, if so, how the school could effectively implement the program. The students provided detailed survey data from students and targeted recommendations for a program that would meet the needs of the MSU College of Law community.
Modria is an online dispute resolution (ODR) services and technology company that has led in the ODR field since its inception. This project focused on Modria’s effort to help design an online dispute resolution system to meet the European Union’s mandate for an EU-wide single online platform for contractual dispute resolution. HNMCP students provided a summary report of recommendations for the ODR system design, which it presented to both Modria and to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in New York.
Renmin University School of Law
Renmin University Disability Law Clinic (DLC) is part of the law school curriculum at Renmin University of China School of Law. Among its activities, the Renmin DLC works with disabled persons organizations to advance the rights of disabled citizens in China. In an effort to help DPO representatives strengthen their ability to communicate effectively with government and other key decision makers, HNMCP students created a negotiation and consensus building curriculum for the Renmin DLC to help equip leading DPOs with the tools necessary to achieve their advocacy goals.
U.S. Department of Transportation/Volpe Center
The Volpe Center, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), in conjunction with the Federal Railroad Administration has implemented a confidential reporting system for “close calls” to help identify safety hazards. HNMCP worked with the Volpe Center to evaluate and refine the dispute resolution process that will be part of that reporting system.
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is a federal prosecutorial agency whose primary mission is to protect federal employees and others from “prohibited personnel practices” (PPP), including the deliberate targeting of whistleblowers for punishment. HNMCP students assessed the OSC’s current mediation program and offered critical analysis of and creative recommendations for how the OSC can best employ ADR to process cases.
HNMCP: Given the range of clinic options available at Harvard Law School, why did you choose the Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) and what hopes do you have around alternative dispute resolution as a process as a result of your project?
Leah Kang: Before law school I taught fifth grade in a public school in the Bronx for three years where I witnessed firsthand how the poverty and racial inequality that is structurally embedded in our political and legal system shaped my students’ lives and limited their opportunities. I came to law school seeking a skill set that would allow me to challenge the unequal system in which my students lived.
When I took the Negotiation Workshop as a 1L, I learned, among many lessons, that there is a wide range of ways to think about the problems that lawyers come across and a wide range of skills we will need in order to approach them effectively. I enrolled in the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) because I wanted to build on what I had learned in the Workshop.
I had taken other clinics at HLS and always loved the experience of working with actual legal issues and real clients. Still, most law school classes and clinics start with some baseline assumptions—they take for granted that a dispute has occurred and that a client needs an advocate to mediate between her and the system. While the experience of providing legal services for these clients had taught me invaluable lessons about the power of the attorney-client relationship, it had not always given me a chance to question the assumptions underlying the system itself.
HNMCP offered me an experience that I could not get with more traditional law school clinics. It pushed me to grapple with big ideas: how the underlying architecture of a system affects what later manifests in the form of legal problems, how to rigorously analyze problems to find their root causes, and how to think creatively about how we might imagine systems, and our world, differently. As someone committed to pursuing a public interest career combating structural inequality, the opportunity to engage in this kind of learning experience was thrilling.
HNMCP: How do you think this experience will inform your future work?
LK: Just before graduation, funding came through that will allow me to work next year at Advancement Project, a racial justice organization that engages in community-based solutions for systemic change. Their model recognizes that traditional litigation is just one of a lawyer’s many tools, and that successfully challenging injustice and inequality involves movement and coalition building, legal advocacy, and strategic communications. I know my HNMCP experience will be hugely informative in my future work with Advancement Project.
HNMCP: What was it about that the project with the Chilean Ministry of Justice that attracted you?
LK: I was attracted to the project because I knew it would be a challenge. The Chilean Ministry of Justice was working toward an incredibly ambitious goal of expanding access to justice through the implementation of a system of neighborhood multi-door courthouses. I was excited about the chance to help the Ministry tie the critical lens of dispute system design and ADR theory to the practical exercise of implementing its multi-door courthouses.
I was also eager for the challenge of working across cultural and linguistic contexts, particularly for a complicated government client. You leave the Negotiation Workshop thinking you understand interests and how to dig for them, but you definitely don’t really understand it until you have tried applying it to a real-world setting.
HNMCP: What have been the unexpected rewards and challenges of your project been?
LK: One of the most challenging, and definitely the most rewarding, parts of the HNMCP experience has been the task of working closely on a team of fellow law students. It was really challenging to figure out how to engage in a collaborative process toward a truly jointly created end product. To be honest, as I have come to realize, few of my group project experiences before HNMCP had been genuine mutual efforts.
The other members of my HNMCP clinical team and I had very different styles, preferences, and strengths. It took a lot of time and energy to develop our team dynamic, but we worked really hard on it. I am really proud of how we were able to come together. Law school can be an isolating place that emphasizes individual competition. This is unfortunate considering how much we will all need to engage in genuine teamwork and collaboration in order to effect the changes in our world that so many of us came to law school to fight for.
The HNMCP experience was a unique opportunity to really collaborate with a team of talented peers on a real-world project, and I am grateful I had the chance to be a part of it.
Of the many issues on the forefront of the development of civil rights in the People’s Republic of China today, the advancement of the rights of disabled persons offers great promise as well as many challenges. This past May, when most 3L’s were busy celebrating the end of their three-year law school odyssey, graduating students Ashley Nyquist ’12 and Jake Lee ’12, along with Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Jeremy McClane ’02, travelled to Beijing to present a negotiation and consensus building curriculum to over fifty representatives of Disabled Persons Organizations (DPO)—NGOs dedicated to promoting the rights of disabled person in China. The curriculum was targeted to help DPOs address the challenges they face as they pursue their goal of a more equitable society. The program was a Spring 2012 HNMCP project that was co-sponsored with Renmin University of China School of Law, Harvard Law School’s Program on Disability, and the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative. The training was held over the course of two days at Renmin Law School and coordinated by HNMCP alumnus Alonzo Emery ’10, who is now a professor at Renmin.
Prior to the formal program, the team from HNMCP spent a week meeting with the various DPOs at their offices and learning about the challenges that each of them faces in advocating their agendas both with the government and among their fellow NGOs. The team from HNMCP had worked during the spring semester developing the curriculum, and spent the final week in Beijing honing and refining the training modules to better suit the needs of the participants. The reaction was enormously positive. Participants felt they gained a new perspective on the issues they face, and learned new strategies and approaches to managing their negotiations. A number of participants remarked that using simulations to teach was still relatively unknown in China and that they found it both effective and interesting.
In reflecting on the program, Professor Emery remarked, “[n]ever before have I received so many follow-on expressions of gratitude for not just the organization of a training, but, importantly, for inviting trainers who shared immediately transferable and useful skills. Reflecting on the joint efforts of students and faculty from Renmin and Harvard, one participant summed-up his experience in a letter to me, ‘because of people like you, we have reason to believe that humanity carries even greater hope and possibility for improvement.’ The thoughtful work of HNMCP will have a lasting impact on the lives of the training’s attendees and, by extension, the millions of citizens with disabilities they represent.”
The students found this to be an extremely rewarding experience, even though it extended their semester by several weeks. Nyquist stated that she felt very lucky to have worked on the project. “I came in with interests in China and in civil rights, and this project taught me a lot about both. I saw a side of China (NGOs, and disability rights organizations in particular) that I hadn’t experienced before. I definitely have a new awareness of disability issues as well, and I’ll be following the news from China to hear about the amazing work the DPOs we met are doing.”
Nyquist also summarized some of the challenges the team faced in executing the project: “In Beijing, we were talking to a group of experienced advocates working within a challenging cultural and political system very different from our own. That was humbling. We were fortunate though to have a terrifically patient and engaged group of participants, and connecting with those who volunteered and shared experiences was great.”
McClane felt similarly enlivened by the experience. “I was extremely impressed by the DPO members who participated in the program. Prior to coming to Beijing, I did not have an adequate appreciation for the types of challenges these groups face on a daily basis. It was inspiring to see how much these groups have managed to accomplish in the face of such difficulty. I was also very impressed with the caliber of the Renmin students who assisted us in the program. We are indebted to them, and of course to Alonzo, for making the program work. I hope that the students and DPO participants alike are able to build upon the groundwork from this program to develop better ways to navigate their challenges and reach their goals going forward.”
Debby Gelber: I had been in a community meeting, expressing my frustration that even though the community wanted to work on conflict resolution, there didn’t seem to the skills or time in the group to make it happen. One woman suggested that maybe we needed outside help. I went home, got on the internet, and within five minutes had found your clinic!
HNMCP: What made you decide our clinic would be a good process for Cornerstone? Did you have any experience with alternative dispute resolution before?
DG: The combination of outside expertise plus someone actively working on it would ease the pressure on us, plus give us some accountability to move forward with the process. We had tried dispute resolution amongst ourselves, with varying degrees of success.
HNMCP: What were the attractions of working with students? What concerns did you have?
DG: We liked the energy and information they would bring. We were concerned that it would be a project where they got a lot more out of it then we did. That did NOT turn out to be the case!
HNMCP: What were some of the challenges of the project for Cornerstone.
DG: Talking about conflict is difficult for some of us. The students doing one-on-one confidential interviews helped us move through that more easily.
HNMCP: And what was fun and interesting about it?
DG: Everyone enjoyed working with the students, it created a “buzz” around the community with people asking each other, “did you have your interview yet?”
HNMCP: What tangible results did you see come out of your work with HNMCP?
DG: We got a better sense of the priorities that we needed to take on, which our managing board adopted as their top issues to deals with in the coming year. We also got a very rich document, full of suggestions, training ideas and role-plays that we can use to actively work on conflict areas in the community.Cornerstone Village Cohousing is a cohousing community in the northwest inner suburbs of Boston, MA, composed of 32 private housing units and common facilities. They are committed to living as a community that promotes sensible sharing of personal, social, and natural resources, provides a safe and stimulating environment for the growth of children and adults, and fosters beneficial relationships with the surrounding community and the world at large.
This April, HNMCP Director Bob Bordone ’97, co-led a panel at his 15th Reunion with Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Jeremy McClane ’02 (10th Reunion) titled “It’s Almost Never a Nail: Expanding the Lawyer’s Toolbox.” Also participating were recent clinic students Ryan Blodgett ’12, Elizabeth Grosso ’13, Leah Kang ’12, Jeffrey Monhait ’12, Teresa Napoli ’13, and Apoorva Patel ’13.
The seminar focused on the particular role of lawyer as problem solver. After a brief history of the evolution of alternative dispute resolution pedagogy, Bordone and McClane discussed the purpose behind HNMCP—as a place to expand negotiation skills learned in the classroom into the realm of diagnosis and dispute resolution systems design.
You can watch this panel on the Reunions website.
Rachel Viscomi: I served as a teaching assistant for the Negotiation workshop three times and for the Program of Instruction for Lawyers (PIL—now the Harvard Negotiation Institute). I was also a member of the Harvard Mediation Program and helped to train mediators at Mediation Works, Inc. in Boston. Essentially, I took every class I could—Multiparty Negotiation with John Richardson, Bob’s (Bordone) Interdisciplinary Seminar, and the very first course Roger Fisher and Dan Shapiro taught on Managing Emotions in Negotiation. Strangely, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review never even crossed my mind. I’m amazed at how many incredible opportunities exist now that weren’t available then. There is a much more focused interest in the field than existed when I was at HLS.
HNMCP: Can you trace any particular influences that led you to study negotiation?
RV: On the whole, I would say that my journey to this work was accidental. Or fated? I took the Negotiation Workshop because a friend recommended it as the best course at the law school. When he mentioned role plays I said, “Uh, that actually sounds kind of awful.” He insisted that the role plays were the best part and that after the first one it stopped feeling uncomfortable and started to just be fun. Erica Fox was my lecturer and Gillien Todd was my TA. Erica and Gillien were incredible and I quickly understood why my friend had called it the best class at HLS. I loved everything about the class.
Maybe I fell in love with negotiation because I’m one of four children, and, as a middle child, was frequently called upon to play the role of mediator. I studied Italian Literature in college and graduate school but ultimately, I couldn’t imagine becoming a professor in it because the subject matter was arcane and of interest to such a small pocket of people. I wanted to do something that would have a greater positive impact on the world. Dispute resolution felt like a natural next step.
HNMCP: What were the most important skills you learned through your negotiation training?
RV: My training has taught me to be curious, to ask good open ended questions, to value and be good at empathy. However, the most valuable thing I learned was more than a skill, it was a mindset—a different way of seeing the world, the assumptions we make, the rules that we assume hold true. For me, the most powerful shift was to question what I thought I knew. Before learning the HLS model of negotiation I was generally convinced that, whatever the topic, my view was correct. There was a comfort to that confidence. The Workshop put the first crack in that, and it expanded quickly and dramatically. Now I assume that the person I’m talking to has a story within which his or her behavior makes sense and so I am very slow to judge people’s behavior. I actively look for the context I’m missing that could be important. It drives my husband crazy that I’m not willing to call anyone “bad” or make assumptions about their character based on limited information about their behavior. (He’s a prosecutor, so as you might imagine, he has a long list of people he believes belong in that category!)
HNMCP: Can you give a specific example of when these have been useful?
RV: On a daily basis! An obvious example that comes to mind is purchasing my current house. After the inspection the seller’s realtor told me, “Here’s how this works—you come up with a number that you think you need to knock off because of the issues, we knock it down, you pull it back up and ultimately we end up in the middle.” Instead, we wrote a relationship-building letter outlining that we loved the house and were willing to pay a fair price. We explained what we’d learned from the inspection, what estimates we’d received on the work we considered necessary, and what that meant in terms of the purchase price we were willing to pay. We explained that we were not interested in haggling back and forth over the price, but that we were certainly willing to pay a fair price and were open to discussion if they had reliable contractors who could do the work for less or would like to do it themselves. They came back with an offer that did not respond on the merits, but split the difference between what we’d requested and the pre-inspection number. We told them that we appreciated it, but that, as we’d explained in our letter, we were not interested in haggling and wished them the best of luck. (Persuading my husband that walking to our BATNA was our best move was a pretty significant negotiation in itself!) They came back within an hour and accepted the terms of our letter.
HNMCP: How are you using these skills in your current work?
RV: I work for a firm called Vantage Partners in Boston. The firm is, essentially, an offshoot of the Harvard Negotiation Project. I’m in Corporate Education. I help clients think about how to embed skills like negotiation, communication, and influence within their organizations. We work to achieve organizational change for our clients by introducing a common vocabulary and framework for negotiation to help them create more value, stronger relationships, and better results. When I first came to Vantage, it really didn’t feel like a job at all. I couldn’t believe that I was being paid to do what I had loved doing at HLS. It is a job I genuinely enjoy and find incredibly rewarding.Rachel Viscomi is a Principal in the Corporate Education practice area of Vantage Partners, a Boston-based consulting firm that helps clients achieve business results by transforming the way they negotiate and manage their key relationships. She has worked with clients from a wide range of industries, including sales organizations, pharmaceutical companies, software companies, airlines, and the entertainment industry. She teaches in the Harvard Negotiation Institute and has also taught as part of UMass Boston’s Emerging Leaders Program, Amsterdam’s ADR Institute, The Ombudsman’s Association, and The Citadel. Prior to joining Vantage Partners, she practiced for several years as a civil litigator with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, LLP. She earned her JD from Harvard Law School, an MA in Italian Literature from Middlebury College, and her BA in Italian from Columbia College. She has also studied at the Università di Bologna and the Università degli Studi di Firenze.
In May three clinic students Daniel Doktori ’13, Eugene Karlik ’13, and Leila Perkins ’13 traveled to New York with Lecturer and HNMCP Assistant Director Rory Van Loo ’07 to present their recommendations for resolution of cross-border e-commerce disputes to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The presentation marked the culmination of a semester spent working remotely with Modria, a start-up online dispute resolution (ODR) company, and its CEO Colin Rule.
“Presenting at the UN was a bucket list moment, “ said Doktori. “There we were, presenting our research to about 50 delegates from a variety of countries, each of which had a strong knowledge of and feelings about the relevant issues. We were contributing to the dialogue in a very real way. All in all, pretty awesome.”
The issue of designing cross-border ODR systems rose in prominence in late 2011, when the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) both announced ambitious plans to launch cross-border online dispute resolution systems. In November 2011 the EU adopted a resolution to create a single-entry-point online platform to help resolve disputes concerning purchases made online between consumers and businesses in different EU countries. Around the same time, an UNCITRAL Online Dispute Resolution working group declared that it would launch a global pilot ODR system in late 2012.
Starting in January 2012, the students conducted phone interviews and administered two online surveys of stakeholders across Europe. They did deep dives into Germany, England, and—in partnership with Anna-Karin Berglund LLM ’12—Sweden before producing a report summarizing key themes and making design recommendations for cross-border ODR. In addition to its presentation at the UN, the team also delivered a separate presentation of its findings through videoconference to an international group of ODR practitioners and alternative dispute resolution faculty from law schools such as Penn State, Harvard, and Stanford.
Case studies are a valuable tool for experiential, participant-centered learning. Role plays and case studies bring real life situations to classroom settings, helping students prepare for their professional careers and helping experienced professionals refine their skill sets.
The Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program is leading the way in teaching students practical skills to help their clients in negotiation, mediation, dispute resolution and conflict management. Cases written by the HNMCP faculty are now available for purchase on the Harvard Law School Case Studies website.
This year the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program launched a new lunchtime conversation series about current events and negotiation practices facilitated by its faculty. Each session broke open a particular news story and then asked how scholars and practitioners of negotiation and mediation might view the events and how we might be able to help push toward an integrative solution.
“Obama’s Contraception Plan and the Catholic Bishops: Is a Resolution Possible?”
Prof. Bob Bordone
“Brokering a Republican Presidential Candidate”
Rory Van Loo
“Renegotiating Greek Sovereign Debt: the Problem of ‘Vulture Fund’ Holdouts”
Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor
“Defusing Nuclear Tension in Iran”
Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor
Four of the six project teams this spring semester presented their final reports to their clients in person.
Team Episcopal presented to the Bishop and priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts at their annual retreat on Cape Cod. They shared recommendations for leading facilitated dialogues throughout the parish around health insurance concerns for clergy and staff, and led a mock dialogue at the retreat to demonstrate the skills.
Team Modria.com presented in New York to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. Their report included high-level recommendations for designing online dispute resolution systems for cross-border disputes.
Team OSC presented to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C., giving recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of the OSC’s ADR program and offering creative options for future growth and development of the program to meet identified goals.
Team Renmin presented bi-lingual negotiation skills and consensus building curriculum for Renmin University’s Disability Law Clinic in Beijing to lawyers and NGO staff working in China’s disability area. Renmin’s DLC is run by Alonzo Emery ’10, an alumni of HNMCP himself. (This description of the presentation is based on the original project description for the website. Please edit to reflect the actual end product.)
Congratulations to Grant Strother ’12, who at Commencement this May was awarded the 2012 Fisher-Sander Prize for his paper titled “Resolving Cultural Property Disputes in the Shadow of the Law”. Grant is now working for Davis Polk and Wardwell in California. He served as a TA for the Spring Negotiation Workshop and as co-chair of the Harvard Negotiators, a student organization that provides law students with opportunities to become actively involved in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution while working with clients in the “real” world.
The Fisher-Sander Prize was established in 2007 by the Program on Negotiation in honor of Professors Roger Fisher, the Williston Professor of Law Emeritus, and Frank E. A. Sander, the Bussey Professor of Law Emeritus, two founders of the Program on Negotiation and leaders in the field of negotiation and conflict management. This prize may be awarded annually to the best student paper on a topic related to negotiation, dispute systems design, mediation, dispute resolution, or ADR. Professional school students currently enrolled in a PON-affiliated degree-granting program at Harvard, MIT, or the Fletcher School at Tufts are eligible for the prize. The amount of the prize is $1,000. Grant’s name will be engraved on a wall plaque to be displayed at the Program on Negotiation.
To read Grant’s winning paper or see past winners, click here.
The winners of Harvard Law School’s 59th annual Williston Competition, Harvard’s annual contract negotiation and drafting competition for first-year law students, were announced on April 19.
Best Overall Contract : Aseem Padukone ‘14, Stella Unruh ‘14, Andrew Sullivan ‘14 and Patrick Brown ‘14
Best Representation of Hanford School of Law : Nikolas Bowie ‘14 and Addar Weintraub ‘14
Best Representation of Committee on Outside Activities: Annie Kim ‘14 and Sara Canby ‘14
The Williston Competition presents participants with a complex business or public policy problem and charges them with representing a client in negotiations, trying to arrive at an agreement that they then reduce to writing. Students compete in teams of two and must submit a ten-page contract that is agreed to by both sides and a three-page memo informing their client of the negotiated deal.
This year’s problem involved a negotiation between the faculty and administration at The Hanford School of Law over permission for professors to develop online course offerings.
“This year’s winners demonstrated an excellent ability to advocate successfully on behalf of their clients at the same time they discovered ways to cooperate to identify and capture joint gains. In this way, they embodied the best practices of problem-solving lawyers seeking to handle conflicts that can only be solved through mutual collaboration,” said Robert Bordone ’97, Thaddeus R. Beal Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program.
The Williston Competition is administered annually by Harvard Negotiators, a student organization devoted to providing Harvard Law School students opportunities to develop and practice negotiation skills through competitions, simulations, and work with real life clients. The judges for this year’s competition were Ellen Wheeler ’12, Ruchi Desai ’13, and Chad Ellis (HBS Graduate) a negotiation consultant and mediator.
On Saturday, February 25, 2012, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review held its annual symposium. This year’s symposium focused on the question, “Does ADR Work?: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Alternative Dispute Resolution.” The keynote speaker was Carrie Menkel-Meadow, A.B. Chettle, Jr. Professor of Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure at the Georgetown University Law Center and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California at Irvine School of Law.
Panel one, “Co-optation of ADR: Has it Become ‘Cheap Justice’?” looked into the complicated balancing act between fairness, public accountability, and cost, and whether the parties’ interests are appropriately addressed. Panelists included: Howard Gadlin (National Institutes of Health); Lawrence Susskind (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Rory Van Loo (Harvard Law School); and Nancy Welsh (Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law).
Panel two, “ADR in the Criminal Justice System” examined the appropriateness of various ADR methods in the criminal justice system (plea bargaining, restorative circles, victim-offender mediation, and problem solving courts), how well they are working, and how they can be optimized to serve society’s interest. Panelists included: Julian Adler (Red Hook Community Justice Center); Eric Blumenson (Suffolk University Law School); David Breen (Boston University School of Law); Christopher Dearborn (Suffolk University Law School); and Michael Sullivan (Ashcroft Group and Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts).
Panel three, “Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of Evaluating ADR” asked the questions: can the effectiveness of ADR be evaluated and measured and are quantitative or qualitative measures the appropriate method of evaluation? Panelists included: Robert Bordone (Harvard Law School); Dwight Golann (Suffolk University Law School); D. James Greiner (Harvard Law School); Janet Martinez (Stanford Law School); Carrie Menkel-Meadow (Georgetown University Law Center and University of California at Irvine School of Law).
The 2012 Harvard Negotiation Law Review Symposium was sponsored by the Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy Fund, the Program of Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. Videos for each panel and the keynote lecture can be found on the HNLR site or the HNMCP site.
HMP continued to build community and momentum this spring through training, social events, ongoing review of our curriculum, and a transition in leadership.
Twenty-four new mediators joined the program in the spring semester. Revamped “Coach the Coaches” and “Train the Trainers” sessions emerged out of the Curriculum Review Committee (CRC), as well as a new module lesson plan which was tested at the February training. The work to review and update the HMP training curriculum will continue in the fall. We also held a number of advanced training events, including ones on corporate mediation and giving and receiving feedback. Occasional lunchtime debriefs with clinical supervisor Prill Ellis remain a favorite.
The HMP community connected with a number of social activities. A Valentine’s Day party in the HMP office featured delicious homemade treats and allowed members to make their own valentines. Co-president David Zins held a potluck at his house to allow prospective board members to chat with outgoing board members. Elections were held, and an exciting slate of new officers was elected to head HMP in the 2012-2013 year. New mediators met with their class for a final event at the HMP graduation and shared illuminating stories about their first mediations.
Long-time community member and Malden liaison Shiona Sommerville has been revitalizing opportunities for out-of-court mediations, including our tenant-to-tenant program in her new role as Case Coordinator, a position vacated earlier this year by Mike Steinberg when he moved to New York. Shiona spent the spring working to firm ties with local housing authorities and find new mediation opportunities with partners such as Animal Control.
HMP will miss our many members who graduated with the class of 2012. Our last event for the semester was a celebratory party for the graduates and their family members. We wish them the best of luck in their careers and hope that the skills they learned and the friends they made in HMP serve them well!For more information about HMP or to get involved, please visit our website, or email co-Presidents Amanda Frye or Jacob Rogers.
During the first two weeks of June, the Program on Negotiation hosted the Harvard Negotiation Institute (HNI) on campus. HNI provides mediation and negotiation workshops for participants from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds. Several of this year’s workshops were led by HNMCP faculty, students, and alumni. On June 4-8, Professor Bordone led a 5-day Negotiation Workshop on “Strategies, Tools, & Skills for Success.” The Workshop included 89 participants from 26 different countries—ranging from Columbia to Qatar to New Zealand—and 15 U.S. states. Participants were broken into four working groups led by Chad Carr ’06 (HLS Lecturer on Law and HNMCP Clinical Instructor), Florrie Darwin ’84 (HLS Lecturer on Law), Jeremy McClane ’02 (HLS Lecturer on Law and HNMCP Clinical Instructor), and Rachel Viscomi ’01 (Principal, Vantage Partners).
Daniel Doktori ’13 served as a teaching assistant for the workshop and enjoyed the opportunity to work with a group of individuals from such diverse backgrounds. “One of the most satisfying things about being a teaching assistant for the course was seeing how valuable the material was for even the most experienced negotiators.” He also noted the intensity of planning for and executing a five day workshop. “Despite being exhausting it was totally exhilarating and I know that the students in the course really appreciated the hard work put in preparing for them.”
Several HNMCP alumni also returned to serve as teaching assistants for other HNI workshops. Rachel Krol ’12 and Leah Kang ’12 taught in Bruce Patton’s “Improving Your Negotiating Effectiveness” Workshop from June 11-15. Krista deBoer ’12 assisted Professor Bordone with his “Two-Day Intensive Negotiations for Lawyers and Executives.”
Dominic McGann, a partner at McCullough Robertson Lawyers in Brisbane, Australia, was one of the participants who traveled around the globe to participate in HNI. “My time at HNI was an unconditional delight. The workshop provided an intellectual outline for the conduct of negotiations and then enabled you to rehearse the skills necessary to be successful when negotiating. As someone who often negotiates in remote parts of the Australian Outback, I look forward to taking the lessons of the HNMCP to some places that even Google Earth struggles to find.”
By Kimberley Hall
Clinical Professor Robert Bordone combines role-play with interactive technologies to record, assess and reflect on key steps in the student negotiation process. In the school’s flagship Negotiation Workshop, Bordone uses interactive technologies to capture student results in the Ellsworth v. Ellsworth case, the capstone to the course, where students act as family lawyers. In his new advanced Multiparty, Decision-Making, and Teams Negotiation Workshop, Bordone leverages technology in running the C02 simulation where students confront collective action problems in their role international policymakers negotiating their nations’ carbon emissions over a 20 year period.
Family Law: Ellsworth v. Ellsworth
Students negotiate the terms of a divorce decree in teams of two, representing the two spouses, Bill and Ellen Ellsworth in a divorce. The clients in this case are played by real actors often recruited from the community or the ranks of HLS staff and administration.
Bordone presents the students with a comprehensive set of issues to negotiate both during class time and over the course of a weekend, including assets, custody and
future expenses such as college education and medical care. The parties come to resolutions and log their decisions on a Web-based interface through multiple-choice fields and include comments explaining their agreements in class.
The software is programmed to compile and display the results visually, facilitating comparisons through bar graphs that can be pasted into slideshows. Once all students have completed the negotiation, Bordone and his team access and evaluate the results.
A comparative analysis is made among the groups in class where peers discuss one another’s results.
The student interface that the Law School was able to provide us for collecting our data has enabled us to provide students information that we used to have to calculate by hand. Moreover, we can now give our students a deep dive into comparative results across different negotiations in the class. The interface developed by our colleagues in the Library has taken this simulation to a new level.
In the advanced Multiparty Negotiation Workshop class that Bordone offered to students at HLS for the first time this past fall, students represent a single country in environmental negotiations like the Copenhagen Conference on Global Warming. Their task is topersuade other countries to reduce carbon emissions while at the same time protecting their own industries and ability to grow their individual economies.. The negotiations take place in discrete rounds where students first discuss their projected emissions before going into a room to record their promised levels of carbon emission
Through the recorded votes in the automated .csv file the clicker software creates, Professor Bordone was able to take the game from a simple idea into one that actively incorporates many of the complexities and variables of actual negotiations. For example, the technology allows Bordone to introduce complexity into the negotiation by adding random events such as an economic downturns, natural disasters, and reduction through clickers.
internal political strife.After discussion, students vote for the first round. They then return to their groups for further negotiation, voting and discussing up to 15 rounds.
Countries operate under different constraints, with more powerful countries exercising more influence on the outcome of each round. The news stories that are incorporated into the game influencethe decisions made by the students. By integrating MS Excel and PowerPoint through creating Macros with Visual Basic, the game is able to manage large sets of data, facilitating the interaction between all 24 countries over the course of 15 rounds of negotiation. Finally, as with the Ellsworth game, final votes are displayed
“Without the technology that the library was able to provide to run the CO2 game, it would have been impossible to run the negotiation in real-time without a staff of at least 3 or 4 teaching assistants collecting an analyzing the results in a frantic way . Moreover, we would not have been able to simulate the complexity that makes the negotiation so rich,” says Bordone.through bar graphs and displayed for class analysis and discussion.
Jennifer Reynolds ’07 has been twice honored this year at the University of Oregon School of Law (UOSL). Earlier this spring Reynolds, Associate Director of the Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center, was chosen to receive the 2012 Orlando J. Hollis Teaching Award, the school’s highest teaching honor. Then, this May, Reynolds became only the eighth UOSL faculty member ever to win the University-wide Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching. “Professor Reynolds is creative, caring, and rigorous in the classroom,” remarked Oregon Law Dean Michael Moffit ’94 on the UOSL website. “She is a model not only for her students, but for those of us who are lucky enough be her colleagues.”
“I am currently working as a negotiation trainer and consultant for a company called The SAB Group. I’m traveling all over the world and working with corporate clients across a number of industries. I do very similar work to what we were doing in the clinical: I get to know a client’s needs for negotiation training, I write customized negotiation role plays for the client, and I coach and teach clients who need help negotiating. I’ve done things like coach management teams prepping for union disputes and travel to China to help negotiate a joint venture agreement. At this point I’ve worked on deals worth millions of dollars. I am continually impressed with the diverse applicability of negotiation skills to various problems and also with the clients that seek out a collaborative, interest-based negotiation training to facilitate the possibility of win-win agreements. I get the most satisfaction from what I do when I hear back from a training participant who has used active listening to mediate a fierce local city board dispute or who has taken control of a high-stake business deal by setting an agenda ensuring that he or she will better understand the interests of all stakeholders before deciding on the best option to push forward. I always feel that my work is rewarding and interesting, and I love what I do.
Of course, I owe my current position in part to my experience in the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, as well as the Harvard Mediation Program. When I’m doing this work I feel comfortable in my own skin in a way I never felt while I was practicing at a law firm, and it’s incredible to think that the building blocks for what I do came from my clinical experiences at Harvard. I am a true supporter of the clinical program.”
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Staff Attorney Janson Wu ’03 was named the 2012 recipient of the American Constitution Society’s David Carliner Public Interest Award, becoming the first LGBT-identified attorney to receive the honor. The Carliner Award recognizes “outstanding mid-career public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies its namesake’s legacy of fearless, uncompromising and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.”
“I’m humbled to receive this award for doing work that I love, particularly fighting for transgender rights and marriage equality,” said Janson. “I hope to honor David Carliner’s amazing legacy by fighting for the most disadvantaged and unpopular in our communities, because it’s the right thing to do.”