USC Gould Search

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Negotiation Theory and Application (Fall 2019)

  • Course Number: LAW-712
  • Class Number: 03393
  • Instructor: Jason Marsili

Course Description

USC Gould School of Law



A.   Course Description

Negotiation Theory & Application is premised on the reality that the practice of law often requires the use of negotiation as a tool to advocate on behalf of clients, resolve disputes, and settle legal claims.  This course introduces students to the process of negotiation, explores the theoretical approaches underlying various systems of negotiating, and cultivates students’ advocacy skills to become effective negotiators.  Students will learn each of the major bargaining theories, explore the practical application of each theory in context, and better understand strategic movements in negotiating.  Through simulated exercises and reflective discussions, students will also develop skills and confidence as negotiators both as individuals and as client representatives.

B.   Instructor

Professor:  Jason C. Marsili

Email: (primary)


Office Hours:  By Appointment

C.   Textbooks

Folberg and Golann, Lawyer Negotiation: Theory, Practice, and Law (2d ed. OR 3d ed.)[1]

Fisher and Ury, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (3d ed.)

Credit and Grading

This course will be a 3 unit course lasting for one semester. The course will not be offered as pass/fail.



Class Recording

Your class will not be routinely recorded.  In the event you want a class session to be recorded please send an e-mail to with the date(s), start time(s), end time(s), and room number(s) for the recording(s) you are requesting.  Please note that while our Computing staff will do their best to accommodate every request, you should submit any recording requests at least 24 hours before the class session begins.

Course Objectives

Through classroom discussion and completion of the assigned readings, students will understand negotiation theory and appreciate the psychological, emotional, legal, and ethical components comprising the process of negotiating.  Students will also comprehend the competitive, collaborative, and collective approaches to negotiating and discern opportunities to employ various aspects of each approach in different contexts.  By participating in simulated exercises, students will develop skills and confidence to better represent both themselves and clients in negotiations.

II.   Course Requirements & Guidelines

Class Preparation and Participation

Class discussions will operate on the assumption that students have completed the assigned readings and are prepared to actively participate.  Reading assignments and/or exercise roles for each class will be assigned during the previous class.   

Attendance and Classroom Behavior

Regular and punctual attendance is expected of all students as well as active participation in classroom discussions and simulated exercises.

Use of Laptop Computers and Electronic Devices

Use of laptop computers, tablets, or any other electronic devices will not be required or permitted during class meetings.  All necessary substantive information will be provided to students by way of handouts and/or print copies of presentation slides.

Grading Criteria

Journaling (10%)

Students will be required to draft a journal comprised of five (5) entries addressing selected topics assigned periodically throughout the semester.  Journal entries are intended to foster students’ considerations of negotiating in everyday life.  Each journal entry shall be no longer than one (1) page in length.  

Small Group Exercises and Classroom Discussion (40%)

Students will be required to participate in simulated negotiation exercises and engage in classroom discussion reflecting on concepts drawn from the readings.

Midterm Negotiation and Reflective Paper (20%)

As part of the midterm assignment, students will engage in a negotiation exercise against the Professor.  Students will write a reflective paper addressing their preparation for the exercise, performance during the exercise, and perception of the Professor’s tactics during the negotiation.

Final Negotiation and Reflective Paper (30%)

Students will participate in a large group, multi-party negotiation that will incorporate various aspects of the course material, require use of many different approaches to negotiation, and comprise both individual and group objectives.     Similar to the midterm assignment, students will write a reflective paper addressing their preparation for the exercise, performance during the exercise, and perception of the other participants’ positions and approaches to the exercise.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Exam: Paper and project
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: yes
  • Participation: Required and Graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 24