HNMCP Newsletter - Volume VIII - Issue II
After a semester-long sabbatical in New York City this spring, I have now returned to Cambridge with a renewed sense of energy for the year to come. While it was difficult to be away from the dynamic program we have built together over the last eight years, I was grateful for the chance to step back and reflect from a different vantage point—something that we at HNMCP always suggest as a helpful practice. I am grateful to HNMCP Assistant Director Rachel Viscomi ’01 for her able stewardship of the clinic in my absence and to HLS Lecturer on Law Florrie Darwin ’84 for her leadership of the Spring Negotiation Workshop while I was away.
Six clinical projects this spring allowed us to continue our systems design work in corporate and governmental settings and expand our work on facilitation and bringing conflict management skills to local communities in the Boston area. In addition, Rachel Viscomi, Prill Ellis, Mo Griffin and two students from the Harvard Mediation Program, Sam Cortina ’15 and John Miller’15, led a panel discussion at the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution this spring on their work mediating conflicts that arise over Harassment Prevention Orders in the Boston area.
There are many exciting developments in the world of negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School for the upcoming school year.
First, Harvard Law School is delighted to welcome Amy Cohen ’02 of Ohio State University as a Visiting Professor of Law. She will be teaching an additional section of Mediation, the Negotiation Workshop, and Law, Development, and Global Food Policy. Amy is a longtime friend of HNMCP and we’re so happy to have her here this year. I’m also delighted that David Hoffman who continues to teach his outstanding mediation class here is adding a new Legal Profession offering on Collaborative Law. Amy and David’s classes add to the already robust set of academic and clinical offerings in negotiation, mediation, and systems design at HLS.
Rachel Viscomi & I will be offering Multiparty Negotiation, Group Decision Making, and Teams together f and we are excited to be working on a multiparty negotiation project with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her staff throughout the semester.
And, of course, we will have the usual activity of our clinic, HMP, HNLR, and Harvard Negotiators throughout the fall.
Finally, thanks to support from Dean Minow, HNMCP is growing its team effective August 31. I’m delighted to welcome Samuel Straus ’15 as an Associate to the HNMCP. Sam was a stellar member of our community throughout his time in law school, serving as a Teaching Assistant in the Negotiation Workshop and in the summer Harvard Negotiation Institute, as well as a student in the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. Sam will be working with me on a number of new initiatives related to facilitation and political dialogue in the year ahead.
In this issue of our newsletter are our regular spotlight features: recent clinical student Ariel Eckblad ’16—whose clinical project with Seeds of Peace focused on creating and delivering a conflict resolution skills training to youth leaders in rapidly evolving racial and ethnic groups in Maine and Syracuse, NY—and clinic client Fr. Rich Erikson—who called on HNMCP to address civil discourse in his home community of Sudbury, MA. Our On the Road feature notes what HNMCP staff have been up to outside our regular teaching and clinic commitments, our Publications sections notes some new pedagogy from our team, and we have plenty of news from alums in our Class Notes section.
We are excited to hear updates—personal and professional—from our alums and our clients. So please keep in touch.
Robert C. Bordone ’97
Thaddeus R. Beal Clinical Professor
Director, Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program
This note from my mother, at some point, became my mantra after a childhood laced with her stories of the Nigerian civil war, forced migration, and famine. There is a sort of ever-gnawing “it doesn’t have to be this way” ethos that has guided many of my life’s choices. And still, at some point before law school but after high school graduation, these words had hollowed. Penned so often and repeated with such frequency, it seemed they had shed their sincerity. I believed these words in theory but had no clue what they meant in practice. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, HNMCP (and a Google search) gave these words a newfound meaning.
I appreciate that I am a bit of an anomaly amongst my peers in that the Negotiation Workshop was the reason I came to HLS. In fact, I remember the evening I decided not to forgo my acceptance after 3 years of deferring—I was skimming an article on peace-building and the Harvard Program on Negotiation was spotlighted. I, at the time wondering whether a three year postponement had made law school redundant, did a quick Google search for “Harvard Law Negotiation.” What I found, a simple website detailing the work of HNMCP, altered the trajectory of my academic career. It was not until I was sitting in the UK scrolling the HNMCP website that I realized that there was a community of people dedicated not only to the study but to the practice of conflict resolution. I realized that I was not alone in believing that it did not have to be this way—we could peaceably and elegantly resolve the conflicts we caused.
I came to HLS hoping to close the gap between dispute resolution theory and practice. The Spring 2014 Negotiation Workshop was my first step in narrowing this gap. It was here that I was pushed to not only hone my negotiating skills but to question the tacit assumptions that shaped me as a negotiator: What does it mean to “win”? Can one be both empathetic and assertive? What is the role of relationships in reaching an agreement? The Workshop proved to be more than a rigorous academic endeavor. It was here that I began to revisit my once hollow mantra. Conflict resolution morphed from a possibility to a process. Conflict resolution was, in fact, an art and there was a community of people seeking to master it.
After the Workshop, eager to fully engage with this community, I enrolled in The Lawyer as Facilitator (LAF) class and the Negotiation and Mediation Clinic in the Fall of 2014 and served as a Teaching Assistant for the Negotiation Workshop in the Spring of 2015. The clinic and LAF worked in tandem to buttress that which I had begun to explore in the Workshop. In LAF I was encouraged to both develop my facilitation skills and explore what made it difficult for me to employ said skills. As a member of the Clinic I worked on a fascinating curriculum design project, supervised by Professor Bordone, and began to re-engage with concepts that I had learned but not yet taught. Ultimately, delivering a negotiation and conflict resolution training for Seeds of Peace (the culmination of my work in the clinic) and serving as a Teaching Assistant for the Negotiation Workshop were professionally and personally transformative. It was in these moments that I came to appreciate the power of facilitation, the potentiality of collective brilliance, and the sheer joy of teaching.
HNMCP has created a unique space at HLS for which I am eternally grateful. It is, without question, a context in which skills are honed, assumptions are challenged, and rigorous academic work is done. And still, in a larger setting where all of that is commonplace, what makes HNMCP unique is its underbelly of hope. Underneath HNMCP’s work, is a hope that is neither idealistic nor naïve but grounded in study, process, and precision. In this paradigm, student and faculty are allowed to collectively re-imagine conflict, unearth well-designed solutions, and believe that the problems we create we can also solve. Thank goodness for that Google search.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Erickson has participated in two projects with HNMCP—originally as a stakeholder in one of our first projects, with the Paulist Center, in the fall of 2006, and the second as a client, the Sudbury Clergy Association, this past spring 2015. We asked him about his experiences and his response makes clear that he holds the value of clear and constructive dialogue as dear to his heart as we do!
By Rev. Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D.
To paraphrase Christian scripture very loosely, I did not find HNMCP, HNMCP found me. When I was serving as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston (2006-2011), Prof. Bob Bordone invited me to join in a series of conversations with Catholics who felt disappointed, discouraged and/or angry at some of the teachings of the Catholic Church and/or how those teachings were being implemented locally. From the very start, I was impressed with the approach and demeanor of Bob and his colleagues. I found the conversations to be very enlightening and even, at times, enjoyable. As a leader in the Church, hearing the concerns, hopes and life experiences of my sisters and brothers helped me greatly. What began as conversations about issues and concerns ended as personal sharings. I hope those who took part in the conversations also benefited from connecting with the leadership of the archdiocese in such a personal (and hopefully substantial) way.
In 2012, I began serving as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury. A great blessing to me is the ministry and example of the Sudbury Clergy Association. I have a great deal of respect and esteem for my colleagues, even though there are some matters on which we disagree strongly. At our regular meetings, we began to share concerns about what we perceived to be a strong negative content to public dialogue in our community. At a dinner with the Selectmen, we heard similar concerns. Both the Rev. Barbara Williamson and myself had previous positive experiences with HNMCP, so we invited Bob Bordone and Rachel Viscomi to one of our monthly meetings. As a result, and with great enthusiasm, we applied to become a client of HNMCP.
We were delighted to welcome Seanan Fong and Jiayun Ho in January of 2015. We were amazed at their commitment and hard work. They were totally invested in assisting our community. Through an online survey (open to all residents of Sudbury), focus groups and interviews, Seanan and Jiayun were able to confirm that many people were experiencing dialogue in our town in a very negative way. Their report and recommendations are very impressive. They provided background and narratives on the perception and experiences of those who participated in the project. They offered recommendations on how the town could move toward a more positive and constructive dialogue. A number of the recommendations are already being implemented.
Perhaps in both projects, the beginning goals were somewhat modest: to enhance communication and relationships in the Archdiocese of Boston and to “test” the perception of the Sudbury Clergy Association about toxic aspects of public dialogue. In the end, the goals were far exceeded with great progress being made in both communities. You could say that with HNMCP, I have been twice blessed.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Erikson is pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1985 and has served as the parochial vicar at St. Mary’s in Lynn, MA, Chair of the Social Science Department and Professor at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, as an active duty Air Force Chaplain, and as the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Boston. He has served in the Air Force Chaplain Corps for over 32 years and holds the rank of Brigadier General, serving as the Mobilization Assistant to the Air Force Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon. He is the author of Late Have I Loved Thee: Stories of Religious Conversion and Commitments in Later Life.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is dedicated to improving people’s lives in Asia and the Pacific. The ADB Office of the Ombudsperson (OOMP) is available to all ADB employees to help foster collaboration and to enhance efficient, informal conflict resolution within the organization. HNMCP students assessed how ADB staff currently approach dispute resolution within ADB and their understanding of OOMP’s role.
The Boston Home Center (BHC), a division of the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, helps Boston residents purchase, improve, and keep their homes. The BHC is regularly contacted by small, deed-restricted affordable condo associations around a variety of internal conflicts. HNMCP students assessed existing conflict management systems, explored current association conflicts, and made recommendations to address these conflicts.
The mandate of the Government of New Brunswick’s Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat addresses various social, economic, and legal issues between the Government of New Brunswick and First Nations communities. HNMCP worked with the Government of New Brunswick to examine questions of how consensus-building processes might be used within the provincial departments engaging and consulting with First Nations.
Ono Academic College enlisted HNMCP students to facilitate dialogue among ONO students regarding Israel’s national and military service policies and the different ways in which those policies impact members of Israeli society. HNMCP students conducted a stakeholder assessment and convened two roundtables to foster learning and reflection among participants of many different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
The Sudbury Clergy Association enlisted the help of HNMCP to understand why public dialogue in Sudbury had become strained and unproductive. The Clergy Association sought to develop a kinder, gentler protocol for engaging at Town Meetings, in town government, and in the schools for the sake of the community’s best interests. HNMCP students convened listening sessions and conducted interview with town employees, elected officials, and residents, identifying critical differences in perspectives, and proposing next steps toward more respectful public dialogue.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has 17 different agencies, each with its own alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program to manage internal conflicts. These programs have heretofore operated with significant autonomy. HNMCP students assessed the programs and offered recommendations on best practices and systems design suggestions that bolster effectiveness across the 17 ADR programs.
As an Associate, Sam will be working with HNMCP Director Prof. Robert Bordone to expand Harvard Law School’s capacity to train students in skills of facilitation and dialogue. In addition, he will be helping lay the groundwork for a larger initiative that HNMCP hopes to build related to political dialogue at the community, state, and federal level. As part of his work, Sam will help develop teaching materials, design curricula, and identify sources of financial support to grow the initiative and keep it sustainable over time.
Sam has served as a co-facilitator and consultant for the Harvard Negotiation Institute, which provides negotiation workshops for attorneys, business executives, and alternative dispute resolution professionals. He has also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Harvard Law School Negotiation Workshop, an intensive semester-long workshop for Harvard graduate students.
Sam focused his academic studies on negotiation and dispute resolution. As a student in the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, Sam and his project partner Ariel Eckblad ’16 designed a three-day negotiation and facilitation curriculum and delivered the workshop to 36 youth participants from Seeds of Peace, an international peacebuilding organization. Sam was one of only twelve students chosen for the The Lawyer as Facilitator workshop, a course designed to hone facilitation skills through direct practice, including facilitating meetings for Harvard Law School student organizations and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. He has also completed coursework in negotiation, dispute systems design, and corporate deal-making. Sam’s other academic interests include communication, pedagogy, and group dynamics.
“I am thrilled to be joining HNMCP now as part of the staff,” notes Sam. “This is a tremendous opportunity to engage with meaningful work that I care deeply about, with a team that truly embraces integrity, creativity, and compassion. I look forward to contributing to this dynamic program, and the one-of-a-kind experience that it fosters for students and clients.”
Prior to finding the field of negotiation and dispute resolution, Sam worked for the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP in Menlo Park, California, and the law firm of Sagy Law Associates in San Francisco, California. Sam received his B.A. from the University of California at San Diego, with a degree in Management Science, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
“I’m delighted to welcome Sam to the HNMCP team,” enthused HNMCP Director Prof. Robert Bordone. “Sam stood out as simply exceptional during his time as a student at Harvard Law School. As he joins our team, I know he is destined to be a leader in the negotiation and dispute resolution field. His passion for our work combined with his impressive intellect, deep empathy, and illimitable energy ensure that he will make an enormous contribution not only to HNMCP but to the world at-large.”
There have been several articles following up on our spring clinical project with the Sudbury Clergy Association (SCA). The SCA contracted HNMCP to assist with increasingly hostile exchanges between and among stakeholders in a variety of settings and to make recommendations for a kinder, gentler protocol for doing business at Town Meetings, in town government, and in the schools.
Seanan Fong ’16 (Harvard Divinity School) and Jiayun Ho LL.M. ’15 (Harvard Law School), spent two months conducting The Sudbury Listening Project—interviews, focus groups, and a town survey—to evaluate sources of tension and make recommendations on ways the town might move forwards in reconciliation and collaboration.
You can watch Seanan and Jaiyun’s presentation to the Town of Sudbury on Sudbury.TV.
By Sam Cortina, J.D. ‘15
As a student in the Harvard Mediation Program (HMP), this spring semester I participated in and presented at the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference in Seattle. It was one of the most enriching academic and professional experiences of my life.
John Miller, J.D. ’15 and I moved from our roles as students to teachers when we discussed our rich experiences with high-conflict mediations on the HMP panel: “Beyond Small Claims; New Venues for Mediation Programs.” We shared with the audience HMP’s success in recently developing a mediation program for Harassment Prevention Orders in and around greater Boston, and also discussed the incredible work that HMP students, staff, and professors have done over the past 34 years!
“We had a fabulous trip to The ABA Dispute Resolution Conference in Seattle this spring,” said Rachel Viscomi, Assistant Director at HNMCP, who works closely with HMP Program Manager Mo Griffin, giving support to HMP’s mission and vision. “It was wonderful to be reunited with dear colleagues and to make so many new friends in the field. I deeply enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the many varied and thoughtful presentations, and came back feeling rejuvenated and inspired. I was delighted that HMP was able to share insights from their Harassment Prevention Order program and engage a conversation around new venues for mediation. I look forward to continuing many of the conversations we began in Seattle over the course of the coming year.”
For me, it was exceptional to meet so many HMP alumni and learn how the program changed their lives. I feel we made a genuine contribution to the alternative dispute resolution community, and I know our efforts will assimilate into different programs throughout the country in a way that makes people’s lives better. For that, I am incredibly proud to call myself a lifelong member of HMP, and to have attended and contributed to the ABA’s Spring Conference.
This past academic year, HNMCP staff and students initiated a new original blog. It features short pieces written by members of the HNMCP community on negotiation, conflict resolution, and current events. This fall and spring, topics ranged from negotiating with ISIS, to Pew polls and what they indicate about political polarization, to Pope Francis’s capacity as a great negotiator. Several HNMCP students contributed, reflecting on common ground between the Christian and LGBTQ communities, negotiations with Iran, and conflict resolution in a domestic dispute context.
In addition, the blog features a new original series, Dialogue and Demonstration. In response to events around the country in the wake of the shooting by police of Michael Brown, and many, many other African Americans, as well as the birth of the #blacklivesmatter movement, this feature is intended to be an outlet for faculty, student, and staff contributors to reflect on the role of alternative dispute resolution during times of activism and social change. Contributors share their thoughts on questions of identity, purpose, and role, both for themselves and for the field of ADR.
We encourage you to read, reflect, and share your own thoughts. We always welcome comments on the site or guest submissions. For questions or more information, please contact Sara del Nido.
“The Negotiation Within”
HNMCP Director Bob Bordone, former HNMCP Associate Toby Berkman ’10, and Clinical Fellow Sara del Nido ’13, and have been published in the Fall 2014 volume of the University of Missouri School of Law’s Journal of Dispute Resolution. The article is entitled, “The Negotiation Within: The Impact of Internal Conflict Over Identity and Role on Across-The-Table Negotiations.”
Bordone, Berkman, and del Nido argue that most existing scholarship on negotiation focuses on strategic, structural and psychological barriers to agreement in across-the-table negotiations, but that internal conflict also plays a profound and powerful role as a barrier, as well. Building on the groundbreaking work in Difficult Conversations and Beyond Reason, which brought to the fore the important identity issues underlying negotiators’ experiences, the article draws on a broad range of scholarship from the fields of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and even literature to propose a framework for understanding internal conflicts, and offers prescriptive advice for self-diagnosing and constructively handling one’s own “negotiation within.”
The framework suggests three domains of internal conflict that, if left unaddressed or poorly handled, could be detrimental to across-the-table negotiations: aspirational identity conflicts (conflicts between two or more identities that the individual aspires to embody), valenced identity conflicts (conflicts between identities the individual experiences as having a positive or negative valence), and transformative identity conflicts (conflict between one or more stable, known identities and a future, unknown identity). An across-the-table negotiation could “trigger” one or more of these domains. While some typical strategies for handling “negotiations within” include denial, avoidance, suppression, or resignation, negotiators should instead move towards “integration,” a thoughtful weighing of all the interests and concerns of the multiple internal selves involved and an effort to generate creative options to meet these interests. To make this move, the article suggests a three-stage process: building awareness of internal conflict through “mirror work,” thoughtfully preparing for across-the-table negotiations through role-play exercises in “chair work,” and managing a “negotiation within” in the moment it is triggered through “table work.”
“The Negotiation Within” represents the beginning of what the authors hope will be a rich conversation among academics and practitioners about internal conflict: “Given the interdisciplinary nature of the work, we hope that thinkers from across the spectrum . . . contribute to an ongoing conversation about how internal conflicts and ‘negotiations within’ play a role in our daily experience, and how we might reframe these conflicts into opportunities for growth and collaboration.”
“Drug Trial Committee”
Drug Trial Committee, a new case published through HLS Case Studies, is a group decision making scenario in which a “committee” of students is tasked with unanimously determining which three candidates who are ill with a deadly disease will receive life-saving doses of an experimental vaccine. Drug Trial Committee challenges students to to negotiate process and make decisions in the context of a extreme deadlines, while grappling with ethical dilemmas and confronting the underlying assumptions that influence their decisions.
Another new case we’ve published through the HLS Case Studies is “Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra,” authored by Scott K. Dasovitch, under the supervision of Professor Robert C. Bordone. “Golden Gate” provides a challenging opportunity for participants to engage in a complex negotiation involving multiple stages and multiple issues. In roles as either a member of the musicians’ committee or a member of the management team, participants find themselves entering a contract negotiation during a critical juncture for the orchestra: it has been operating at a deficit for several years, but a donor has offered a $20 million gift to the endowment conditioned on the orchestra balancing its budget in the upcoming negotiation for the next couple of years. The case covers issues of inter- and intra-team dynamics, as well as the particular challenges of negotiating in a group.
Although on sabbatical during the spring of 2015, HNMCP Director Bob Bordone continued delivering occasional negotiation trainings in various locations including Calgary, Irvine, CA, and Norway. For the fifth consecutive summer he visited repeat-Clinic-client Seeds of Peace in Otisfield, Maine to do a program using our new case, Drug Trial Committee. He also delivered the keynote address to the American Association of Professional Landman in Nashville, TN in June and gave a talk on negotiation to senior managers at the Harvard Business School in August.
Assistant Director Rachel Viscomi taught “difficult conversation” skills to the Harvard Law School Emerging Leaders staff program. She also taught as part of the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative’s Leadership Development and Civic Engagement Course this summer.
Post Bar trip Whitney Benns ’15 joined Triad Consulting Group in Cambridge, MA.
Ivy—and Ivy’s mom Krista DeBoer ’12—welcomed new baby brother River in May.
Leah Kang ’12 is currently clerking with the Honorable Theodore D. Chuang in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
Rachel Krol ’12 has been invited to return to teach “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution” in 2015–16 in the undergraduate program at the Wharton School at UPenn.
Ashwin Kaja ’11 writes that he is still happy in Beijing, working for Covington & Burling at the intersection of international law and policy. He also continues to work personally with universities in different countries to develop international collaborations.
Former HNMCP Associate Toby Berkman ’10 married Annie Olinick in the Berkshires during the weekend of August 15-16. HNMCP Director Bob Bordone was honored to serve as one of the groomsmen.
Paul Yoo ’10 and his wife welcomed their first son Lucas.
Michael Blank ’07 married Alexandra Miller. Their wedding was featured in Town & Country magazine.
Ashley Harris ’08 married Jon Fougner in a gorgeous ceremony in Napa Valley in July. Former HNMCP Assistant Director Rory Van Loo ’07 was in attendance, along with Mike Blank ’07, Florrie Darwin ’84, and HNMCP Director Bob Bordone.
Jennifer Reynolds ’07 received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.
Former HNMCP Clinical Instructor Stephan Sonnenberg ’06 has been appointed to the role of inaugural Clinic Expert at the Royal Institute of Law Secretariat in Bhutan. He will design and implement all aspects of experiential legal education for the Kingdom of Bhutan’s first law school, scheduled to open in 2017.
Former HNMCP Clinical Instructor Jeremy McClane ’02 married Michael Sinkinson on the beach in Honolulu in January .
Monica Parker ’99, former Lecturer on Law in the Winter Negotiation Workshop, joined Davis Wright Tremaine in its Seattle, WA office as the Senior Manager of Professional Development & Training.