Attorneys and law schools face an increasingly connected global legal community. The business world and the worlds of technology and invention have broadened enormously. Professor Jim Hilbert, Director of the Center for Negotiation and Justice in St. Paul Minnesota, started teaching a new class “International Negotiation and Dispute Resolution” in July 2009. The students were 12 William Mitchell College of Law students squared off against 12 visiting law students from Turkey.
Negotiations involved international business transactions, foreign policy negotiations, and international legal dispute resolutions. Different cultural approaches surfaced and threatened to kill deals that looked promising initially. When students realized the negotiation itself mattered, not their opponent’s style, then deals were struck and friendships emerged. The lesson Hilbert wanted his students to learn before they go out and practice is that the interrelationship between culture and law is real, and that it influences the way lawyers practice. The class was offered to ensure that students have an awareness of the international implications of their work.