When Wendy Sherman, former under secretary of state for political affairs, was in the midst of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, she often felt that her team was playing “several games of multidimensional chess at the same time.” On April 20, Sherman delivered a guest lecture to the Harvard Law School Negotiation Workshop.
This year, Clinical Professor Robert Bordone ‘97, director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP), developed a capstone consulting project with Major League Baseball (MLB) for his course “Advanced Negotiation: Multiparty Negotiation, Group Decision Making, and Teams,” co-taught with Lecturer on Law Rory Van Loo ’07. MLB tasked the class with providing strategic advice for an upcoming negotiation aimed at the implementation of an international amateur draft. Six teams of Harvard Law School students participated in the semester-long project, competing for the opportunity to present their findings to the MLB. In his essay, “Note from the Big Leagues”, Chris Davis ’14, a member of the wining team, reflects on his experience.
Last year, after Rory Van Loo ’07 left the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau implementation team to become assistant director of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, he asked his former colleagues how HLS students might assist the new agency. It had been created by Congress in 2010 largely thanks to the vision of HLS Professor Elizabeth Warren, and its mission included examining certain consumer financial services companies and large banks and credit unions. But the legislation creating it did not establish an appeals process for examining findings.
In a replica of a high-level White House negotiation session, teams of students in a new advanced negotiation workshop at Harvard Law School offered advice on how to handle Guantanamo detainees. Although the negotiation wasn’t real, for the students the stakes were still high: One team was later selected by fellow students to travel to Washington, D.C., to make a presentation on Guantanamo to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.