Negotiation Skills

Subject LAWS70468 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 18-Apr-2016
Teaching Period 16-May-2016 to 20-May-2016
Assessment Period End 29-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 23-Oct-2015
Census Date 16-May-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 03-Jun-2016

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.

Pre-teaching Period Start: 18-Apr-2016
Teaching Period: 16-May-16 to 20-May-2016
Assessment Period End: 29-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol: 23-Oct-2015
Census Date: 16-May-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail: 03-Jun-2016

This subject has a quota of 24 students per offering. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

Classes will not be held on Wednesday, however students will be assigned work on an email negotiation and preparation of cases for the final two days of classes.

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed any of the below subjects are not permitted to take LAWS70468 Negotiation Skills:

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Ms Florence Darwin



Ms Florrie Darwin (Coordinator)

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Irrespective of their speciality, lawyers must negotiate. Litigators resolve far more disputes through negotiation than by trial. Business lawyers in every domain negotiate on behalf of their clients. Public interest lawyers, in-house counsel, government lawyers, criminal lawyers, tort lawyers, and commercial litigators all share the need to be effective negotiators. Yet few lawyers have any systematic understanding of why negotiations often fail or have suboptimal results, the dilemmas inherent in negotiations, or the characteristics of effective negotiators.

By combining theory and practice, this subject should improve students’ understanding of negotiation and effectiveness as negotiators. This subject should improve their ability to prepare for a negotiation, to engage others in joint problem-solving, and to select appropriate strategies when negotiations don’t go well. Above all, this subject will equip students to continue refining their skills as they gain more experience.

Florrie Darwin teaches the flagship negotiation course at Harvard Law School and has taught negotiation skills to students as well as a broad range of professionals around the world.

Principal topics include:

  • Introduction to negotiation principles
  • Basic framework for preparing, conducting, and reviewing a negotiation
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Creating value in negotiations
  • The challenge of distribution
  • Effective listening and assertion
  • Negotiating via email
  • Effective responses to difficult negotiation tactics
  • Dealing with structural complexity in negotiation/multiparty negotiations.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the complexity of negotiation and the principles relevant to effective negotiation;
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse and interpret the behaviour of parties to a negotiation;
  • Have significantly enhanced his or her negotiation skills and developed a broader and more sophisticated repertoire of negotiation strategies;
  • Have an expanded capacity to deal efficiently with differences and conflicts that arise in the context of negotiation;
  • Have significantly improved his or her ability to develop and maintain working relationships with others, particularly in relation to interpersonal, communication and feedback skills;
  • Have a set of tools with which to make better deals and agreements;
  • Have an advanced capacity to learn effectively from his or her own negotiation experience; and
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in relation to negotiation.
  • Class participation (40%)
  • Analytical journal (1500 words), due 29 June (25%)
  • Research paper (3000 words) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator, due 29 June (35%)

100% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Construction Law
Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Construction Law
Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

Download PDF version.