Center on Negotiation and Mediation

Whether practicing transactional, criminal law, or litigation, much of a lawyer's time is spent negotiating with other lawyers, clients, or colleagues, and most cases are ultimately resolved through settlement and, increasingly, mediation. The Center on Negotiation and Mediation, one of Northwestern School of Law's Bluhm Clinic offerings, provides students with theoretical and practical experience in negotiation and mediation through a series of courses and workshops.

Northwestern's Center on Negotiation and Mediation is different from similar programs at other law schools: most schools offer just one or two sections on negotiation, and negotiation is considered to be a specialty course. Here, 13 sections are offered, and the vast majority of students take the course. Negotiation is considered to be an essential skill, and students graduate with knowledge and expertise they bring to their chosen careers. In the negotiation offerings, students collaborate with the Kellogg School of Management, attorneys in the Chicago area, and students from other law schools. Working in teams or one-on-one, students cover a wide range of situations, including real estate transactions; lawsuit settlements; and intrafamily, neighborhood, or labor disputes. What's more, faculty members represent diverse expertise – some with transactional experience, some from other countries, and even a sports agent.

The program also encourages students to understand themselves as negotiators through opportunities to explore the emotional component of negotiation and to practice mindful awareness. "We've been lucky to welcome some of the great leaders in negotiation and mediation," says Lynn Cohn, Center on Negotiation and Mediation director. "We want students to understand the different perspectives on what it means to be a negotiator."

Ample opportunity exists for students to expand knowledge into mediation, gaining understanding of the process whether as an advocate or mediator. Some students may choose to become certified as mediators. These students then mediate actual cases throughout the Chicago-land community.

The Center on Negotiation and Mediation also provides services for the broader Northwestern Law community including:

  • Teaching executive education programs for lawyers and business professionals through the Law School's Professional Education Program
  • Teaching executive education programs for various Kellogg Executive Education programs
  • Administering the Legal Trek program to promote diversity in the legal profession.
  • Teaching in foreign universities
  • Teaching Conflict Management at Northwestern student leadership retreats
  • Working with the Student Bar Association's Committee on Community Dialogue (CCD) to address conflicts and challenges faced by the student body
  • Providing workshops for local high school students on conflict management and negotiation
  • Teaching team-building to students enrolled in the International Team Project classes
  • Facilitating planning sessions for academic departments and centers

Center on Negotiation and Mediation Overview Video