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<xTITLE>Harvard Law School's Great Negotiator Award is Presented to the 'The Gates' Artists</xTITLE>

Harvard Law School's Great Negotiator Award is Presented to the 'The Gates' Artists

by Jeffrey Krivis, Mariam Zadeh

From the First Mediation Blog of Jeff Krivis and Mariam Zadeh.

The Gates, Central Park by Grahamlyth on Frickr

The Gates, Central Park by Grahamlyth on Frickr

The Great Negotiator Award, presented annually by Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation has historically been awarded to figures in business and international diplomacy. This year however, the award was given to artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a married couple recently known for their 2005 project “The Gates” in Central Park, which featured over 7,500 bright orange structures erected along the park’s pathways.

Robert H. Mnookin, Harvard Law School professor and chair of the Program on Negotiation, as quoted in the Harvard Crimson stated, “What we look for in a great negotiator is someone who has demonstrated the capacity to overcome barriers and create solutions in a number of settings,” and “Christo and Jeanne-Claude had done this a number of times.”

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are currently working on a project entitled “Over The River”—a six-mile-long stretch of fabric panels suspended over the Arkansas River. It is expected to be completed in the summer of 2012, putting their award winning negotiation methods to the test once again.


Jeffrey Krivis

Improvisational Negotiation. This phrase summarizes Krivis’ philosophy for a successful and dynamic mediated negotiation. A successful mediation needs both keen legal insight gained from years of litigation experience and cannot be scripted.

Exploring this idea with further study led Krivis to venture on the stage as a stand-up comedian. Ultimately, he authored a book entitled Improvisational Negotiation: A Mediator’s Stories of Conflict About Love, Money and Anger – and the Strategies that Resolved Them (Wiley/Jossey-Bass 2006). This book received the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution.

Krivis began his mediation practice in 1989 breaking open a niche in the Southern California dispute resolution landscape. He crafted a process that sets the stage for successful resolution. Through improvising, harmonizing, and always closing, he has resolved thousands of disputes including wage and hour and consumer class actions, entertainment, mass tort, employment, business, complex insurance, product liability and wrongful death matters.

Mariam Zadeh was an active trial lawyer in New York City until September 11, 2001, at which time her life was dramatically changed. She moved to Los Angeles, obtained her L.L.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, and became a partner with Jeffrey Krivis at First Mediation Corporation. Since joining Jeffrey Krivis, Mariam has successfully mediated employment, class actions, commercial, premises & professional liability, mass torts, medical malpractice, ERISA and other tort actions as well as matters pending on appeal. In 2007, Mariam was featured as a “Rising Star” in the Southern California Super Lawyers magazine and was profiled by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. She is a published author and frequently lectures and teaches at ADR workshops and classes throughout California.