Multiparty Negotiation, Group Decision Making, and Teams

by Lisa Brem

HNMCP Director Bob Bordone and Assistant Director Rory Van Loo developed and co-teach Multiparty Negotiation, Group Decision Making, and Teams, an advanced negotiation workshop that enables students to participate in and conduct complex, multiparty negotiations.

“Lawyers and other professionals, irrespective of their specialty, find themselves party to negotiations with multiple (more than two) principals all the time,” explains Bordone. “This course combines theory and practice to give students an opportunity to hone their skills in multiparty settings.” Students work in teams to address complex, global, and professional issues. The advanced Workshop integrates intellectual and experiential learning by combining readings, lectures, and discussions with frequent exercises, extensive review, live and filmed examples, individual and small group reviews, and analysis of the negotiation process and the process of learning from experience.

Bordone and his team at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) developed several role play simulations and teaching notes specifically for this course (see below). “The group work was both the most challenging and the most rewarding part of the course,” said Teresa Napoli, a third-year student from the Chicago area. “It was challenging because each member of the team approached the project with different baseline expectations, preferences, skills, and working styles. At the same time, it was incredibly rewarding to work through these differences, address conflicts that arose, and see how a group’s effectiveness increases as a result. In that respect, this course was the most useful one I’ve taken at HLS. It gave me skills that I can directly apply in any employment situation. I wish it were mandatory for all students.”

Educators can register at the Harvard Law School Case Studies web site to check out these role plays used in the course:

For more information, or to discuss how to adapt the course for your academic or executive education needs, email Case Studies Program Manager Lisa Brem.

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