Becoming a Client of HNMCP

Our partners work with us for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by the idea that they might directly contribute to the formation of a new generation of more holistic dispute resolution experts. Others are motivated by the quality of the clinic’s students and final work product, whereas still others see this cooperation as a low-cost recruiting tool for talented, Harvard educated dispute management practitioners. Whatever their motivation, partners demonstrate a remarkable level of trust in our clinic and our students by asking for our assistance.

Some sample project ideas include the following:

  1. Helping to develop a strategy to facilitate stakeholder discussions of important but potentially contentious issues.
  2. Devising a negotiation strategy to mobilize community members towards some sort of social change.
  3. Conducting a conflict assessment that will closely examine the particulars of a nuanced dispute: the various parties, their interests, possible strategies and potential barriers.
  4. Formulating a new, or assessing an existing, internal dispute resolution system to help your employees better manage and resolve workplace dispute.
  5. Mediation of an existing conflict

For a fuller sense of the types of projects in which we engage, please search our project list in the sidebar on this page.

HNMCP’s capacity to partner with an organization is constrained by the number of students who register for the course, and any prior commitments we may have to other partners. HNMCP generally requires for projects to involve real stakeholder contact, either with the client organization or with the client’s stakeholders. HNMCP is therefore unable to work on projects that pose insurmountable cultural, geographic or language barriers.

Projects must fit into the time constraints of either the fall or spring semester at HLS (both approximately three months long), and must have a partner supervisor assigned to work with the students. Before the beginning of the semester, partner organizations and HNMCP work to devise a project plan, clarifying the preliminary timeframe for the project and any work products that will be required of the students. Once the semester begins, students are presented with the work plan for each project and asked to rank each project based on their personal interests. HNMCP then assigns students to projects with these preferences in mind.

During the semester, a clinical faculty member supervises the day-to-day student work, while a contact person at the partner organization gives strategic advice and direction to the project. Students are expected to work between 10 and 20 hours per week, either on-site with the partner organization, or independently in HNMCP’s office space, depending on the needs of the partner and the nature of the assignment. At the end of the semester, students produce the agreed-upon deliverables—such as a policy recommendation on how best to approach a negotiation, a conflict analysis, or a proposal for a dispute system design—to the partner organization. Students are graded by their faculty supervisor based on the content of the deliverable and feedback from the partner organization’s contact person.

Please see the sidebar if you would like to find out more about becoming an HNMCP client or if you would like to see with whom we have partnered in the past.