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.

To learn more about the Negotiation Skills Training please watch our video.


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 13 hours of learning activities scheduled over three days during the training week.

Next delivery announced soon.

For more information, see: 

CLE credits available. CLE hours range by state, but generally this course is awarded between 9 and 11.25 credit hours.

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) retired, March 15, 2014 after almost 40 years as a legal services attorney. Most recently he was 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 the Legal Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children|Dallas housed on-site at Children's Medical Center. The MLP approach "builds a healthcare team able to identify, treat and prevent health-harming legal needs for patients, clinics and populations." Susan has legal expertise in special education and government benefits, in addition to practice experience with housing, family, and consumer law cases. She teaches and lectures regularly on public health topics for students, residents, and faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is a supervising attorney with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas.

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