Fisher family establishes fellowship fund at HLS to honor Roger D. Fisher ’48

Harvard Law School is pleased to announce that the Fisher family has made a generous $4 million gift to establish an endowed fellowship fund at HLS that will support research and teaching fellowships in negotiation and conflict resolution. The Roger D. Fisher Fellowship Fund honors the life and work of the late Roger D. Fisher ’48, the Williston Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School.

Roger D. Fisher“Roger Fisher was a pioneering visionary who helped to create the academic field of negotiation and conflict resolution and who put his own ideas into practice resolving conflicts large and small around the world,” said Dean John Manning. “With intellectual rigor and creativity, he approached the fundamental problem of how human beings can get past seemingly intractable disputes that threaten peace and stability. Because he was adept at explaining process and principles clearly and simply to experts and lay people alike, his work resonated from kitchen tables to cabinet meetings, from classrooms to Camp David and beyond. We are deeply grateful that the Fisher Family has chosen to honor and carry on Roger’s legacy by establishing this fellowship fund.”

“Our father spent his life trying to reduce the risk of war, to resolve conflicts of all kinds, and to improve our collective understanding of how we can reconcile and negotiate differences through mutual understanding and agreement,” said Professor Fisher’s sons, Elliott S. Fisher ’74, MD ’81, and Peter R. Fisher ’79, JD ’85. “We are pleased to be able to honor him and his work by encouraging new generations to improve, extend, teach, and apply the ideas and insights that help us reconcile conflict and reach agreement.”

A Harvard Law School professor for 40 years, and widely known as the co-author of the best-selling book “Getting to Yes,” Professor Fisher is recognized as a pioneer in the field of international law and negotiation. Starting a seminar in 1979 – the first of its kind at Harvard Law School – he worked to understand negotiation as a process that could be analyzed and taught. He co-founded and directed for many years the Harvard Negotiation Project and also helped to create the multi-university Program on Negotiation.

Fisher fellows will be appointed by the Dean of the Law School for terms of either one or two academic years and will be drawn from a diversity of backgrounds from both the academic community of educators and scholars and from a wide range of practitioners and professionals with direct experience in conflict resolution.

The Fisher family also made a permanent gift to the Harvard Law School Library of two books from Professor Fisher’s collection: a first edition, in the original subscription parts, of Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” (1852 to 1853); and an 1826 edition of “The Federalist Papers” that was owned by Professor Fisher’s great-grandfather Henry E. Dummer, who was one of the earliest students at Harvard Law School and a friend of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois.

The Fisher family previously donated all of Professor Fisher’s papers to the Harvard Law School Library, where they are now available.

View the description of Roger D. Fisher Fellowships in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.