Negotiation Skills

Skillful negotiation is an essential component of the legal aid and public interest law practitioner’s toolkit. Through the Shriver Center’s web-based Negotiation Skills training, lawyers and advocates sharpen their existing skills and deepen their knowledge of interest-based negotiation.

Based on the Harvard Negotiation Program’s interest-based negotiating framework, this course immerses you in practical exercises designed for equal justice advocates. You will apply the framework to a series of negotiation exercises and learn the “micro-skills” behind the seven elements of effective negotiation. Through exercises, feedback, multimedia presentations, and discussion, participants will practice systematic preparation and effective conduct of challenging negotiations.

The result? You will be both a confident and principled negotiator and maximize the potential for favorable agreements for your clients. 


The Negotiations Skills training is conducted through the Shriver Center’s online campus; it includes approximately 4 hours of self-paced activities during the pre-training week and then approximately 12 hours of learning activities scheduled over three days during the training week.

April 22 - May 2, 2014 Register Now!

Dec 2 - Dec 12, 2014 Register Now!

For more information, see: 

As a result of participating in the Negotiations Skills training, you will be able to:

  • Identify your preferred negotiation style and the style of the other party
  • Describe the seven elements of problem-solving negotiations.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving negotiation skills, which include:

*describing your BATNA

*identifying interests behind the positions of the parties

*responding to positional statements with inquiries or statements about interests (yours or theirs)

*responding to personal attacks by focusing on the problem before the parties

*generating options to resolve the dispute and seek mutual gain

*raising legitimacy criteria when reviewing options raised on both sides

*achieving a resolution of the issues through a combination of problem-solving and positional bargaining

  • Describe the stages of a typical negotiation
  • Describe the preparation steps for a problem-solving negotiator
  • Illustrate the preparation steps required for the early “information bargaining” stage of a negotiation

*Identify at least three skills that you want to improve when applying problem-solving negotiation in your work setting

ABA Standards addressed include:

Faculty Bios

Jim Breslauer (Bres) is the advocacy coordinator at Neighborhood Legal Services in Lynn and Lawrence, MA. He started his legal services career in 1973 in Lancaster, PA and then moved on to Merrimack Valley Legal Services in Lowell, MA in 1982 where he served as Associate Director/Litigation Director. He has litigated class action matters and successfully argued cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court. In addition to teaching Negotiation Skills, he has served as faculty for several other Shriver Center and other training programs: Basic Lawyering Skills; Basic Benefits; Legal Writing; Supervision Skills; Affirmative Litigation; Case Planning and Discovery; and, Administrative Hearing Skills, among others. In 2013, he received the Massachusetts Bar Association Legal Services Access to Justice Award. Bres lives with his wife, Deb, three dogs and three cats in central Mass. Their son Andy and their two grandchildren, Sandra and Eric, live nearby in Lowell.


Susan Schoppa is part of the national medical-legal partnership movement which believes that “all people have the right to be healthy and to access the health care they need.”  MLPs provide legal care to vulnerable patients who have legal needs harming their health.  By making legal care a part of comprehensive health care, MLPs provide institutional change as well as legal interventions for patient populations.  Susan serves as the Supervising Attorney of the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children|Dallas, a partnership between Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Children’s Medical Center.  She has practiced as a poverty lawyer for 15 years.


Deborah Witkin has been an attorney with Connecticut Legal Services (CLS) since 1986, and has been its Deputy Director since 2008. As an attorney at CLS, she has practiced (at various times) housing, family, public benefits, employment, disability, children’s, and elder law. From 1994 - 1998, Debi took a leave from her CLS duties first to serve on the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Law teaching in its Poverty Law Clinic, then as faculty at the Quinnipiac University School of Law to create and direct a Health Law Clinic, in which position she co-created “Introduction to Representing Clients,” a course with interviewing, counseling, and negotiating components. Outside her work at CLS, Debi has served on the Board (including as Chair) of a major non-profit organization.



To be honest, I tend to be hesitant about training programs, believing that there is nothing like the actual experience. But the online Negotiations course offers some of the most helpful concepts and information I have ever received from a training.

- Linda Samels, Legal Assistance Foundation of LA