Friday, January 25, 2013

Letter from the Director

Dear Friends of HNMCP,

As we begin this new year, we reflect on the past with gratitude and look to the future with hope. In 2012, the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) grew its programs and personnel, continuing to enhance ADR offerings for Harvard Law School students. In 2013, we will honor those who have made this work possible, especially Roger Fisher, while we continue to expand HNMCP’s impact.

In late 2012, the ADR community, and Harvard in particular, lost a master in the field. Professor Roger D. Fisher ‘48 shaped the basis for much of the negotiation work now possible at HLS. In many ways, Roger’s contribution to negotiation pedagogy impacts HNMCP. He experimented with new teaching methods, the use of simulations and video, and intensive personalized feedback. Even with twenty years of innovation since Roger’s retirement, the HLS “Negotiation Workshop”—in which HNMCP instructors teach today—remains one of his enduring gifts to HLS. On March 2, 2013, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review will honor Roger’s legacy by making his work the focus of its annual symposium.

HNMCP’s slate of fall 2012 projects addressed dispute systems in varied contexts. A Boston-based not-for-profit serving Somali youth partnered with HNMCP students to design a training program on negotiating with parents across generations and cultures. Another student team continued our work with Seeds of Peace, an organization supporting teens in areas of high conflict. Other projects assisted government entities from the Canadian Ministry of Justice to New York City officials. You can read more about these successful projects in this issue.

We continue to see a growing interest in ADR, both from our students and from the world outside the HLS classroom. The culminating project for this fall’s “Multiparty Negotiation Workshop” involved providing strategic negotiation advice to senior officials at Major League Baseball.  Two weeks before the Presidential election, a team of HNMCP students and staff co-facilitated conversations in a local Catholic parish focused on faith and citizenship. In January HLS was honored to have internationally acclaimed mediator and dispute systems design expert Kenneth Feinberg teaching our first-ever “Advanced Dispute Systems Design: The 9/11 and BP Oil Spill Funds and Alternatives to the Tort System.” Attendance at our lunchtime discussion series, Negotiation in the News, increased as did the waiting list for our clinic and for the Winter and Spring semester negotiation workshops.

Thanks to the support of HLS Dean Martha Minow, we were able to add a new clinical fellow to our team. Heather Scheiwe Kulp joined us in the fall and will work with ADR-related student practice organizations while undertaking special projects. You can read more about Heather in this issue, along with the variety of ways HNMCP staff members bring their expertise to the world at large in our new “On the Road” column.

We hope 2013 is a year of health, joy, and happiness.