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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Negotiations Theory and Application (Fall 2019)

  • Course Number: LAW-712
  • Class Number: 03394
  • Instructor: Barry Kaye

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 settlelegal 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: Barry Kaye


Office Hours:  By Appointment

C. Textbooks

Fisher and Ury, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Shell, Bargaining for Advantage
Mnookin, Bargaining with the Devil (FREE DOWNLOAD @ USC LIBRARIES)
Wasserman, The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Credit & Grading.

This course will be a 3 unit course lasting for one semester.

The course is available for CR/D/F grading.


None.  However, the course will emphasize legal writing skills.

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

The understanding of negotiation theories, including the psychological, emotional, legal, and ethical components comprising the process of negotiating; as well as the ability to spot and apply various techniques in different contexts.  Additionally, the course is structured to enhance students’ legal writing and advocacy skills.

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.   As the class is quite long, drinks and snacks are permitted in the class. 


Deadlines will be firm.  All papers must be submitted via email by midnight following the class that they are due.  

Use of Laptop Computers and Electronic Devices

Use of laptop computers, tablets, or any other electronic devices should be used sparingly during class meetings and only in ways directly relevant to the class.

Grading Criteria:   

Small Group Exercises and Classroom Discussion (20%)

Papers (70%*)

Papers will be graded on their content and their effectiveness as advocacy.  Length of paper assumes: Times New Roman font, spacing set at “1.5 lines” and 1” margins. 

Advocacy Papers 1 & 2 (35%*)

During the semester, students will participate in many in-class negotiations.  After a number of these negotiations, students will write papers that argue why they believe that they and/or their team were or were not successful in achieving their negotiation goals.  These papers should be written with an emphasis on the procedure, mechanics and techniques learned in the class and course materials. 

Paper 1, due by the 4th Class (15%*), should be at least 5-pages in length. 

Paper 2, due by the 9th Class (20%), should be at least 7-pages in length.

Final Paper (35%)

The Final Paper, due by the last class, should be at least 12-pages in length.

Students will research a documented negotiation (hereinafter referred to as the “selected negotiation”) and then answer ONE of the following questions:

From a negotiations standpoint, what mistakes did the principals in the selected negotiations make?  What could the principals and their advisors and/or legal counsel have done differently to protect the principals from making those mistakes?

If you were a movie director making a film on negotiation techniques, and the selected negotiation was the script you were handed, what would you change?  Rewrite the dialogue in a few of the scenes of the selected negotiation and explain how your changes are justified based on negotiation theory as well as the potential impact that they would have had in assisting the parties to achieve their goals.

Which if any of the negotiations in the selected negotiation resemble those that you’ve seen in or outside of class?  Identify the parties’ stated positions in those negotiations as well as their underlying interests.  Explain the techniques that they used in their attempt to achieve their goals.  How closely did these techniques correspond to the negotiation approaches that we’ve studied in class?  How did they differ?

Presentation (10%)

A 10-minute in-class presentation based on any of the above paper assignments.

* If the grade on Paper 1 is lower than all the other grade components earned during the semester, it will not be included in computing the student’s final grade.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical or CR/D/F
  • Exam: Paper
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: yes
  • Participation: Required and Graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 20