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Negotiations (LAWS50131)

Graduate coursework level 5Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 5
Subject codeLAWS50131
Availability(Quotas apply)
Summer Term
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Negotiation is an essential skill-set for lawyers and the legal profession. Due to negotiations by lawyers, many civil and criminal law cases are settled before the parties even enter the courtroom. Lawyers negotiate on behalf of their client with other lawyers as well as third party non-lawyers. Lawyers must also negotiate internally with their own client as well as other parties to reach consensus. Negotiations also occur in various forms, from traditional settings such as conference rooms and courtrooms, to non-traditional settings such as e-mail and social media communication. Thus, the ability for lawyers to develop and utilise a negotiator's toolbox to negotiate within and among a broad array of environments are essential elements of the legal profession.

The aim of this subject is to acquaint students with the theory and practice of legal negotiations as they relate to the strategic legal process. This class will be highly interactive. Students will have the opportunity to read and discuss a variety of written materials, engage in a variety of negotiation simulations (involving role-playing scenarios, case hypotheticals, and experimental games), as well as become intricately involved in other negotiation-related scenarios and situations.

Classes will generally be comprised of (1) concepts/strategies (theory) presented; (2) simulation and role-playing scenarios applying such concepts/strategies (practice); and (3) a de-briefing of the two components (theory and practice). For the negotiation simulations to be as valuable and realistic as possible, preparation and active participation is expected by those negotiating and playing specified roles - for each participant's individual benefit as well as for the benefit of all class participants as a collaborative group.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following skills as they relate to the field of law:

  • To analyse and apply competitive (positional bargaining) as well as collaborative (interest-based, problem solving) negotiation skill-sets as legal professionals;
  • The ability to develop an advanced understanding of the nature of disputes, including ethical, cultural, and economic factors, in one or more legal jurisdictions;
  • Possess a unique and critical awareness of the emotional and psychological encouragements and barriers to consensus building as well as those involving rational choice theory;
  • Actively participate in a series of useful, interesting and challenging negotiation concepts, strategies, and simulation negotiation scenarios helpful in the field of law;
  • Understand the role of lawyers and non-lawyers in identifying and using the negotiation process most appropriate to the particular dispute;
  • Critically analyse the main theories of influence, sway, and negotiation and their application in the field of law and other related fields;
  • Work effectively as a team member to resolve dispute resolution challenges as future legal professionals; and
  • Identify and integrate ethical issues arising in dispute resolution contexts in the field of law.

Generic skills

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Understand how conflict arises within and between legal and other related organisations;
  • Apply and leverage the main theories related to conflict and its resolution within the contexts of organisations and other diverse environments within law;
  • Analyse and synthesise negotiation theories, skill-sets, and studies, in conjunction with the ability to evaluate their respective usefulness as future legal professionals;
  • Develop a value-added negotiation toolbox and confidence as negotiators for application in the legal field;
  • Apply theories, models and frameworks to understand conflict, influence and negotiation within academic and professional legal settings; and
  • Possess an acute ability to "think like a negotiator" by leveraging, inter alia, a strategic "negotiator's lens" (framework) that will prove beneficial in a wide variety of situations within the field of law.

Last updated: 22 February 2019