Talking About Ferguson
by Andrea Schneider
ADR Prof Blog
We have started the last week of classes in ADR this week and usually, at this time in the semester, I turn to the overarching subject of how to counsel clients when choosing among different dispute resolution processes. I divide the class into small groups and ask them to pick a situation of mass harm–Katrina, BP Spill, other natural disasters or war or violence–and then think about how to design a process to handle this situation. Last night, I took a deep breath, and asked the class to think about the situation in Ferguson. [S/O to Nancy Welsh for forwarding an email from others encouraging law faculty to discuss Ferguson] So here is what I asked: How would you advise the parents of Michael Brown? How would you advise the mayor of Ferguson (or, for that matter, the mayor of Milwaukee since we have had similar incidents)? How would you advise the store owners whose property was vandalized? What processes should we create? What have we learned about conflict and conflict resolution that might be useful when we are faced with a real conflict?
I am sharing this because I was worried about doing this–am I the “right” person to discuss this? would the class discussion be respectful or harmful? how would students react? And I imagine that others of us, as we enter the last weeks of the semester, might also be hesitant to engage in a conflict that is so raw and so difficult for many.
Let me just say that the conversation was active and interesting. I teach 70 students at 7 p.m. at night and keeping them focused this semester has meant a lot of interactive and creative exercises. But last night might just have been the biggest leap of faith I have taken in a while.
And it was totally worth it–a student later emailed to thank me for raising such a difficult issue in a constructive manner As he put it, “so often people are afraid to address issues related to race and act as if nothing did not occur. …Thanks again as I could not have asked for a more timely and close to home subject matter.”
Happy to talk more if anyone wants more details on pedagogy. And this is my pitch to take the leap of faith and discuss the “real world.” Showing our students how to apply our tools to the biggest challenges of the day was well worth the risk.
Before Andrea Kupfer Schneider even knew or understood the words negotiation or mediation, she figured a way to outsource her chores to her younger brother by paying him a part of her allowance. Not a new trick, but noteworthy that she hit upon the idea naturally. Such is the somewhat tainted beginnings of what would become a notable career as a professor and prolific writer in the disciplines of legal practice, deal making and conflict management. Only many years later, having obtained her A.B. degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy at Princeton University, and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and studying with Roger Fisher and others associated with the Negotiation Project, did her interest and passion for understanding how people deal with difficult issues and make decisions begin to gel. And afterwards, she enhanced the breadth of her perspective with study and a postgraduate Diploma from the Academy of European Law in Florence, Italy. She joined the faculty of Marquette University Law School in 1996, where she continues to teach ADR, Negotiation, Ethics, and International Conflict Resolution and is the Director of the nationally ranked Dispute Resolution Program.
Andrea’s writing reflects an integrated perspective of the importance of negotiation and mediation that is not bounded to one or a few particular disciplines. She is either an author, co-author, co-editor, or contributor to numerous books, texts and articles in the field of dispute resolution, including: the forthcoming Negotiation Essentials for Lawyers (ABA 2019) building on the two volume Negotiator’s Desk Reference and, earlier, The Negotiator's Fieldbook all with Christopher Honeyman; Negotiation: Processes For Problem-Solving and Mediation: Practice, Policy & Ethics, and Dispute Resolution: Beyond The Adversarial Model with Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Lela Love & Jean Sternlight; and co-author of two books with Roger Fisher, Beyond Machiavelli: Tools For Coping With Conflict and Coping With International Conflict. And beyond practice theory, strategies and techniques, she also explored the frequently overlooked presence of negotiative process in every part of our society; her book, Creating The Musee d’Orsay: The Politics of Culture in France, explores the place of negotiation and politics in art and architecture, and her most recent book, Smart & Savvy: Negotiation Strategies in Academia, written with her father David Kupfer, a researcher and emeritus professor of psychiatry, as the title suggests, explores the necessity for negotiation in an arena that is not easily or openly admitting of the need for such skills. Andrea has also published numerous articles on negotiation, ethics, pedagogy, gender and international conflict and currently serves as the co-chair of the editorial board of the ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine. She is a founding editor of Indisputably, the blog for ADR law faculty and the 2017 recipient of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work, among other awards. All of this is capped off with her 2016 TEDx talk entitled Women Don’t Negotiate and Other Similar Nonsense.
Her range and scope of interest in how negotiative work can be done more effectively not only in legal practice but in the surrounding politics and culture of our society makes her perspective all the more valuable.
Additional articles by Andrea Schneider