This seminar is intended to explore the processes of negotiation and settlement in legal and other contexts. Negotiation is defined as the process by which two or more parties attempt to reach a mutually agreed upon decision regarding the social ordering of relationships or the resolution of a dispute. Thus, agreement on a contract between two or more parties entails negotiation. Most civil and criminal litigation is settled by negotiation rather than decided at trial. Today, in many states, mandatory mediation-negotiation facilitated by a neutral party-is required before a case can be scheduled for trial. Other forms of alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration or summary jury trials are usually preceded by negotiation. The seminar will focus on the nature of interpersonal and intergroup conflict and strategies and tactics of negotiation. It will also focus on the unique aspects of an attorney representing a client in negotiation, including the ethical duties of a lawyer in this context. The goal of the seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to analyze the social process of conflict resolution in different legal contexts and to gain insight into their own negotiation styles. One class will introduce Collaborative Law and Practice, an approach to dispute resolution that involves information sharing, focusing on needs and interests, brainstorming and evaluating options, and resolution without the threat of litigation.
The seminar makes use of role-play simulation materials and assigned readings. The seminar requires consistent and active class participation, weekly journals or guided questionnaires, and a final paper. Because of the nature of the course, the amount of information delivered during the first class period, the importance of participating in the first role-play simulation during the first class period, and the historically long waitlists for enrollment in the course, attendance at the first class is absolutely required. A student who fails to attend the first class without prior consent of the instructor will forfeit his or her place in the class. (Working for an additional week in the summer will not be an acceptable excuse for missing the first week of class. Neither will a call-back interview.) Students who are on the waitlist for the course are encouraged to attend the first class, and those who do will be given preference to fill open slots in the class. There is a shortened drop period for this course so that students who are waitlisted can enter the class before the second class occurs. Thus, students may drop this course without permission only before the second class meeting.
Because of the similarities between this course and the negotiation course taught at the Fuqua School of Business, a law student may not receive law school credit for both courses.