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Course Application

International Legal and Business Negotiations

Taught by Prof. Lissniak
Call for more information 495-649-2273
See the the professor's video, and a motion video from the course on negotiations conducted in 2013

 “In negotiations never get angry. Convince people. Preferably with a gun.’
Don Corleone. The Godfather. Mario Puzo.

This course is a joint program with law students from Pericles Law Center and business students from the Higher School of Economics, Masters of International Business Program, and Luiss University in Rome, Italy. Students are from various countries.


To introduce a student to one of the most important skills in business and law. This course provides thorough and professional practice in business and legal oriented negotiations. It teaches the theory of negotiation and the skills necessary to become an effective negotiator, learned in part through active exercises and simulations. The course introduces you to negotiation strategy and tactics. It teaches how to prepare, how to identify acceptable negotiated solutions and best alternatives, and how to deal with difficult negotiators. Much of the emphasis is on international and cross-cultural negotiations. This course is useful for lawyers and managers involved in negotiations on a daily basis, and recent graduates planning their careers in business. Lawyers will also be introduced to the role of the lawyer as a negotiator, and experience the lawyer/client relationship in the negotiations process.

The major course goals are to:

  • Provide a framework to help students understand a wide range of negotiations in cross-cultural context;
  • Build the strategic and tactical skills to negotiate more effectively in cross-cultural context.
  • Develop the emotional intelligence competencies to enlarge a skilful negotiator's toolbox.

Good understanding of spoken and written English is needed. This course is open to LLM, MIB and MBA students and taught to the standards of the serious law and business schools. English is the common language, both of instruction and of group negotiations.

Participants must agree to the attendance requirements. This is a practical skills course in which effectiveness depends on your home readingand class participation. Hence, the importance of MANDATORY ATTENDANCE. You cannot learn swimming unless you plunge into the water. You will hone your skills in class and not at home. On your sofa you will read the theory and absorb some knowledge. In the class you will be listening, thinking, creating and doing.

Course Length:
(24 clock in-class clock hours). Appropriate home reading, writing, and preparation time is needed. (This course is considered as two unit class for the LL.M. program.)

The course is based on discussion and participation. Classes are comprised of up to 30 minutes of theoretical introduction, then practicing negotiation skills through problems, business games, and analysis of their solutions. In class, students participate in discussions, play roles in mock negotiations, hone their persuasion skills with classmates, watch video clips, and complete diagnostics tests.

Home reading and preparation are needed. The focus, while in class, is not to repeat the home reading, but to give students opportunities to practice and refine their skills in a wide range of real life situations (sales, rental agreements, trade union conflicts, investment transactions, etc.).

During each exercise, the professor mixes and matches students with partners to allow students to practice negotiating with different personality types.


Grading criteria:
Again, this is a practical skills course and its effectiveness depends on your home reading and class participation. Hence the importance of MANDATORY ATTENDANCE. 25% or more absences from class will result in failure. Time management is also crucial. Latecomers are unwelcome and may be counted partially absent.

Apart from required attendance, grades are based on quality of class participation, smart questions and precise and persuasive answers, knowledge of the theory, application of this knowledge to concrete situations in every class, ingenuity, quality of written homework and meeting homework deadlines, reports on mock negotiations and your progress in haggling tests, negotiation scenarios, and exercises.

Weekly class and homework evaluation represents the current control of the academic success.

There is no final exam.

Grades are non-negotiable.After the course you will be given a personal negotiating profile deriving from respective tests, performance in and out of class, and observations.

To forestall inquiries: some students in previous years have asked for allowances when they faced attendance problems. To reiterate, you must attend class. Moreover, students must interactively communicate in class. You cannot passively hide behind a blank zoom screen listening to a professor pontificating with rare questions and answers from the audience. The soft skills this course teaches are measured mostly through in-class active participation. The regular analytical home assignments are not a kind of dispersed, distributed-in-time exam, but are only a small part of the number of skills developed in a soft skills class. Therefore, those who do not comply with the 75% attendance rule will not be given additional home work to make up the missing classes. Russian «ј¬ќ—№» (maybe, perhaps) does not work here.
Also, giving the professor an early warning of your absense is not getting permission to miss class, it is only politeness and respect.

Class Materials are provided on MOODLE. They are taken from a variety of sources (Russian, French, Dutch, and American). A bibliography list will be given. However, the main sources will be:

1. Roger Fisher, William Uri with Bruce Patton, GETTING TO YES, Penguin Books,  1981, ISBN 01401.5735 2 (186 p.)

2. William Uri, GETTING PAST NO, Negotiating Your Way From Confrontation to Cooperation, Bantam Books, 1991, ISBN 0-553-37151-2 (171 p.)

An optional text that you might benefit from is: Mnookin, Peppet and Tulumello , Beyond Winning, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press;

You are highly advised to purchase these excellent texts if you have the opportunity.


Topics to Cover

Deal-Making and Deal-Breaking. Strategies. Defining and Quantifying your Interests and Objectives. Defining Goals and Limits. Checklist for Information Gathering. Working Sheet for Preparation. Basic Factors Affecting Negotiation. “BATNA”.

What Are You in Negotiations? Classification of Negotiator Types. Understanding the Limits of Your Negotiating Authority. Defining and Quantifying the Likely Interests and Objectives of Other Parties to the Negotiations.

Perception of the Opponent. Art of Listening to Hear. Skills of a Good Listener. Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. The Preliminary Stage (Establishing Negotiator Identities and Tone of Interaction). The Information Stage (Value Creation).

Questioning and Answering Skills. Other Factors in Negotiations: Time, Place, Market Situation, Information available etc. The Competitive/Distributive Stage (Value Claiming).

Public Speaking and Persuasion skills. Arguing Technique. Presenting Information. Using Visual Aid. Using Rhetorical Questions. Emphasizing and Highlighting Key Points. How to Control the Direction of the Discussion. How to Interrupt and Hold the Floor. Negotiating Games/Techniques/Ploys.

Tension Between Principals and Agents. The Pros and Cons of Using an Agent. Tacit and Overt Advising. Psychological Entrapment. Expectations.

Tension Between Empathy and Assertiveness.  Playing in Minefields.
Post Negotiation Assessment.

Closing of the Deal. Value Solidifying. Value Maximizing.
Issues to Consider in Drafting Final Documents.
Playing several games at the same time. Combining Negotiations and litigation. Russian realities of negotiating procedure.

Considerations in Requesting and Giving Representations and Warranties. Importance of Due Diligence during the whole period of negotiations.
Tactical Elements to Negotiations, as well as Pitfalls and Hurdles Facing Negotiators Who Are Conducting Bi-Cultural Negotiations. The Impact of Ethnicity and Gender.

International Negotiations. Negotiation Ethics. Multilateral Negotiations. Coalitions. Devising a Constructive Concession Pattern. ADR. Mediation/Assisted Negotiation. The Challenge of Dispute Resolution.

Control of Emotions of Both Sides. “Pause” Knob («Withdrawal to the Balcony»). Mechanisms for Dealing with Difficult Issues, and for Dealing with Difficult Negotiators. Separating Factual Differences/Disagreements from Emotional.