Negotiation is, and must be, at the heart of modern legal practice. From the Middle East to Massachusetts, from corporate offices to war zones, negotiators are playing vital roles in resolving tough disputes and seeking novel solutions to age-old problems. In this issue of the Bulletin, you’ll read about how this fertile and exciting field is evolving to meet the challenges of the 21st century–and how Harvard negotiators are tackling some of the most intractable conflicts of our time.
As we chart a course through our complex world, we could have no better guide than the law school’s Program on Negotiation, which over the past two decades has become the world’s leading research and teaching center for negotiation and dispute resolution. Today, in a time of rapid change, the program is “going global”–conducting pathbreaking international research, taking its training to other countries and making use of advanced technologies to expand its reach. (Among the program’s initiatives is an innovative “e-Parliament” project, which provides an electronic forum for legislators around the world to share ideas.)
There’s no work more important than finding peaceful ways to resolve geopolitical disputes, and high on the Program on Negotiation’s global agenda are efforts to ease tensions in the conflict-ridden Middle East. To this end, Professor Robert Mnookin ’68 (PON’s chairman) and others with Harvard ties are working to identify processes that will help Israelis and Palestinians find solutions to the problems that have separated and plagued them for so long. I am deeply proud of this work.
Closer to home, Professor Guhan Subramanian ’98 is bringing corporate negotiations and deal making into the law school classroom. His new advanced negotiation course–Deal Design and Implementation–is drawing some of the world’s most prominent deal makers to the law school for closed-door, off-the-record dissections of some of the biggest corporate negotiations ever. It’s a win-win situation, with at least one high-powered guest observing that he learned as much from our students as they learned from him!
Beyond the law school campus, thousands of alumni have forged successful careers blending law and negotiation. One of these is Peter Carfagna ’79, whose clients have included golf legends Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. Carfagna’s interest in sports law was fanned during law school by Professor Paul Weiler LL.M. ’65, and over 25 years, he’s seen the negotiation of player contracts grow from a narrow slice of labor and employment law into a highly competitive specialty. Many of Weiler’s former students are now leaders in this field.
Also in this issue of the Bulletin, we pay tribute to Professors Henry Steiner ’55 and Detlev Vagts ’51, who both retired this summer. Together, Steiner and Vagts were pivotal early figures in the field of transnational law and co-authors of the pioneering casebook “Transnational Legal Problems,” first published in 1968. Steiner, a leader in the field of human rights law, also leaves a legacy in the law school’s extraordinarily successful Human Rights Program, which he founded. Vagts, an expert in international business law, is also a leading authority on the law of foreign relations and on public international law. Along with being outstanding scholars, both Steiner and Vagts share a dedication to teaching, and it’s fitting that the Bulletin’s tributes to these two great men come from former students.
I hope that you enjoy this issue of the magazine and that you come away from it with a new appreciation for the ways that creative negotiation strategies are changing our legal landscape–and often changing the world. The law school’s leadership in this field is something we can all be proud of, and I take great pleasure in sharing some of our accomplishments.