Highlights of the Northern California ADR Faculty Conference

Sheila Purcell (Hastings) provides this synopsis of the Northern California ADR Faculty Conference which Hastings hosted on February 1st.  Sounds like it was a fantastic event.

On February 1, 2014  the UC Hastings Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution and the Gould Center at Stanford Law School co-hosted the Northern California ADR Conference.  Faculty and adjuncts from law schools such as Berkeley, Stanford, UC Hastings, Santa Clara and USF joined undergrad and Business School faculty from San Jose State, San Francisco State and Berkeley’s Haas Business School. Scholars and practitioners included Melissa Nelken, Santa Clara Dean Lisa Kloppenberg, Carol Izumi, Jay Folberg, Jan Martinez and many others.


We kicked off with Keynote speaker Prof. Michael Wheeler from the Harvard Business School whose new book, “The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World,” was just published by Simon & Schuster. Discussion centered on what we as students and practitioners of negotiation arts have to learn from the world of jazz, improve comedy, psychotherapy and military strategy about staying nimble and strategically agile in the often unpredictable negotiation process.


Michael’s conceptual framework was followed up on by presenter Mark Perlmutter, (University of Texas School of Law and now an adjunct at UC Hastings) who demonstrated a role play that drew out issues involved in trying to maintain emotional intelligence in the midst of a hard ball negotiation.


Our final afternoon session led by Deb Gerardi, a healthcare conflict engagement specialist, picked up on Michael’s themes with two provocative hours of experiential activities drawn from her decades of work in the field of improvisational comedy and applied improvisation. This helped us all consider how to best activate and use student’s capacity to sense and respond in negotiation and ADR situations that require presence, focus, deep listening and recognition of offers. The days evaluations indicated that our session leaders were very well received for the mix of theory, practice, fun and collegiality that they each engendered.


My co-host, Jan Martinez, Director, Stanford Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program, and I were happy to work with our colleagues from throughout the region and hope others from around the country can join us next year for a great chance to learn from each other about our best teaching efforts and ideas.


Sheila Purcell


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