The Lawyer as Facilitator

Lawyers facilitate. In contemporary practice, lawyers constantly work on matters that require groups of people to work together in order to solve problems, reach decisions, and resolve conflicts. This group work can include collaborating with lawyers and clients to develop complex legal strategies and coordinating with colleagues around duties and responsibilities. Lawyers may work with corporate and non-profit boards to make a decision or improve the decision-making process. Facilitation may include working with community stakeholders, multiple family members, or local officials to increase understanding, resolve a dilemma, or re-build trust. The typical lawyer in the U.S. will spend at least 10,000 hours in meetings during her/his professional career. And yet, few lawyers receive training in how to organize, run, and facilitate gatherings of people.

This 4-credit workshop introduces students to the theory and practice of facilitation, both in traditional legal as well as non-legal contexts. It also provides opportunities for students to develop the skills necessary for their role as a facilitator, whether a facilitator of meetings, with people in conflict, or with groups problem-solving together. Through simulations, exercises, readings, discussions, and videos, students will practice facilitation and will explore some of the challenges and dilemmas of this important, but often neglected, lawyering skill.

The Lawyer as Facilitator Workshop is scheduled for 1:30—5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Enrollment will be limited to 12 students, selected by application (see more information on the application procedure below). A full schedule will be made available during the first week of class. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory in order to accommodate various group exercises and simulations.

Pre-requisite: Negotiation Workshop

This course is not offered every year. Please check the HLS course catalog. It will not be offered in 2017–18.

4 classroom credits.

Application Instructions:

To be considered for admission to the Facilitation Workshop, we ask you to submit a resume and a narrative statement of interest, no longer than one page. to Tracy Blanchard . You will be notified before the elective registration begins if you have been admitted into the Workshop.

The statement of interest should succinctly explain:

  • why you are interested in participating in the Facilitation Workshop;
  • what you hope to learn;
  • what you hope to contribute; and
  • how you hope engaging in the Facilitation Workshop material will advance your professional interests.