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Robert Mnookin

  • Sheila Heen

    Sheila Heen appointed professor of practice

    August 31, 2021

    Sheila Heen ’93, negotiation expert and trainer, has been appointed professor of practice at Harvard Law School, effective July 1, 2021. She has been a lecturer on law at HLS since 1995.

  • Rex Tillerson speaking at Harvard

    Tillerson’s exit interview

    September 19, 2019

    During a daylong visit organized by the American Secretaries of State Project, former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered his take on global leaders and hotspots, from Iran and Saudi Arabia to North Korea and Syria.

  • Tillerson’s exit interview

    September 19, 2019

    Rex Tillerson had seen and learned much in his 41-year career at ExxonMobil Corp., and some of it proved useful in his 13 months as U.S. secretary of state.  But in the end, most of the thorniest challenges the former chairman of the multinational oil giant faced had more to do with his relationship with his boss, President Donald Trump, than with the complexities of geopolitics. ... In panel interview with Professors Nicholas Burns, who runs the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Robert Mnookin, chair emeritus of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (HLS), and James Sebenius, who heads the Harvard Negotiation Roundtable at Harvard Business School (HBS), Tillerson’s daylong visit was organized by the American Secretaries of State Project, a joint initiative run by Burns, Mnookin, and Sebenius, who each lead programs on diplomacy and negotiation at all three Schools.

  • Illustration of different people dancing in a circle

    The Choosing People

    August 13, 2019

    Robert and Dale Mnookin never had any doubt that they areewish. But the question of who should be considered Jewish can be surprisingly tangled and fraught. That question is at the heart of Robert’s new book, “The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World.”

  • Harvard law professor explores Jewish identity

    February 26, 2019

    Despite American Jews’ generally low observance of Jewish religious traditions, paucity of Jewish knowledge, and relative non-belief in God, many feel remarkably committed. That is the central paradox of contemporary American Jewish life. And Harvard Law School professor Bob Mnookin confesses he is a prime exemplar of the paradox. ... Over the course of a career devoted to conflict resolution, Mnookin has written many well-regarded books and articles on disputes arising from divorce, commercial dealings, and international clashes, including the Israeli-Arab confrontation. Yet “The Jewish American Paradox,” Mnookin confesses, was the most difficult book for him to write. It required him to master a vast literature far afield from his expertise.

  • A Menorah and A Christmas Tree

    December 6, 2018

    An essay by Robert Mnookin. This month poses a “December dilemma” for many American Jews, especially those in interfaith relationships. Should you celebrate Chanukah? Christmas? Or both? Many intermarried American Jews with children celebrate Chanukah, now the most popular Jewish holiday. The December dilemma focuses on whether you may also have a sparkling tree in your living room and condone additional gifts on the 25th. Today about a third of self-identified Jews report having a Christmas tree at home, according to a 2013 Pew survey.

  • Defining Jewish identity

    December 5, 2018

    Last Wednesday, three swastikas were found spray-painted outside the office of a Jewish psychology professor at Columbia’s Teachers College in New York City. In an interview with the Washington Post, the professor remarked that she may have been the target of anti-Semitic vandalism because “I’m a Jew at this college — one of the only ones who acts like a Jew.” Non-Jews may be confused by the meaning of the professor’s response, but Jews will know she is referring to what Robert H. Mnookin calls “The Jewish American Paradox” in his new book of that title.

  • 10 New Books We Recommend This Week

    November 26, 2018

    The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World, by Robert Mnookin. (PublicAffairs, $28.) Mnookin, a Harvard law professor, delivers a methodical argument that for American Judaism to survive it will need to become much more inclusive. Our reviewer, Gal Beckerman, describes it as “a lucid legal brief of a book that proposes what would amount to a revolutionary (some would say heretical) revision. It no longer makes sense, Mnookin thinks, to use matrilineal descent, or any descent really, to determine who is a Jew. If you feel yourself to be a Jew, you get to be one.”

  • American Jews Face a Choice: Create Meaning or Fade Away

    November 13, 2018

    ...If a revitalized form of Judaism is the counterweight to Gans’s predictions, it will have to be much more expansive and inclusive than its current iteration. This is also the assessment of Robert Mnookin, a Harvard law professor, in The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World (PublicAffairs, $28), a lucid legal brief of a book that proposes what would amount to a revolutionary (some would say heretical) revision. It no longer makes sense, Mnookin thinks, to use matrilineal descent, or any descent really, to determine who is a Jew. If you feel yourself to be a Jew, you get to be one.

  • 25 Harvard Law Profs Sign NYT Op-Ed Demanding Senate Reject Kavanaugh

    October 4, 2018

    Roughly two dozen Harvard Law School professors have signed a New York Times editorial arguing that the United States Senate should not confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Harvard affiliates — including former Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and Laurence Tribe — joined more than 1,000 law professors across the country in signing the editorial, published online Wednesday. The professors wrote that Kavanaugh displayed a lack of “impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land” in the heated testimony he gave during a nationally televised hearing held Sept. 27 in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee....As of late Wednesday, the letter had been signed by the following: Sabi Ardalan, Christopher T. Bavitz, Elizabeth Bartholet, Christine Desan, Susan H. Farbstein, Nancy Gertner, Robert Greenwald, Michael Gregory, Janet Halley, Jon Hanson, Adriaan Lanni, Bruce H. Mann, Frank Michelman, Martha Minow, Robert H. Mnookin, Intisar Rabb, Daphna Renan, David L. Shapiro, Joseph William Singer, Carol S. Steiker, Matthew C. Stephenson, Laurence Tribe, Lucie White, Alex Whiting, Jonathan Zittrain

  • How Artful Is Trump’s Dealmaking?

    June 11, 2018

    For decades, President Trump has presented himself as a master dealmaker. "I've made a lot of deals," Trump told reporters last month. "I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals." That was part of the shtick on Trump's long-running TV show, The Apprentice. And it's the subject of his bestselling 1987 book, The Art of the Deal..."Although his Art of the Deal sold a lot of copies, I don't think he's a very impressive negotiator," said Robert Mnookin, who directs the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. Mnookin, who wrote his own book on negotiation called Bargaining with the Devil, says Trump often goes from tough and adversarial one minute to ingratiating the next. He used to call Kim Jong Un "Little Rocket Man." Now he praises the dictator as "very honorable." The president calls that flexibility. Mnookin says it makes Trump hard to trust.

  • Subramanian appointed chair of Program on Negotiation 1

    Subramanian will succeed Mnookin as Program on Negotiation Chair

    March 15, 2018

    Professor Guhan Subramanian ’98 will be the new chair of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. Subramanian holds appointments at both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. As chair of PON, he will succeed Professor Robert H. Mnookin `68.

  • Hillary Clinton to Visit Harvard Friday

    March 3, 2017

    Hillary Clinton will be on Harvard's campus Friday to discuss her time as Secretary of State and dine in Kirkland House. Clinton will take part in an interview as part of the“ American Secretaries of State Project: Diplomacy, Negotiation, and Statecraft”, a joint project of the Kennedy School, Law School, and Business School, according to a statement from the Kennedy School...Law School Professor Robert H. Mnookin, Business School professor James K. Sebenius, and Kennedy School professor R. Nicholas Burns lead the project and will conduct the interview with Clinton.

  • Top view of a student walking across a snowy campus filled with footprints in the snow

    Harvard Law School: 2016 in review

    December 22, 2016

    A look back at 2016, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • Mnookin to receive ABA Outstanding Scholarly Work Award

    March 18, 2016

    Harvard Law Professor Robert Mnookin ’68 will receive the 2016 Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work from the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution. The award honors individuals whose scholarship has contributed significantly to the field of dispute resolution.

  • Harvard brings negotiation workshop to Tel Aviv

    February 18, 2016

    (Subscription required) One can expect only the finest teachings from Harvard University, but something is brewing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prof. Robert H. Mnookin, the chairman of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, along with other colleagues, has spent the past year-and-ahalf developing video lectures featuring some of the world’s leading experts in negotiation.

  • An inside view from Powell, complete with regrets

    November 4, 2015

    In a visit to Harvard Law School, retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell shared lessons from his service as a close adviser to three presidents, tips on negotiating with difficult foreign leaders, and his thoughts on strengthening support for families and children in the United States. Powell on Friday took part in the American Secretaries of State Program developed jointly by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. Law School Dean Martha Minow introduced the afternoon session, which was moderated by HLS Professor Robert H. Mnookin, HBS Professor James Sebenius, and HKS Professor Nicholas Burns.

  • ‘I’m out of money, and I’m out of hope’: Rethinking custody battles

    July 27, 2015

    After spending more than $50,000 in legal bills trying to win custody of her daughters, Amy Andrade ran out of money...“A presumption of joint physical custody is a bad idea,” Robert Mnookin, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-author of Dividing the Child: Social and Legal Dilemmas of Custody, told “It’s fine if the parents agree to it, but is terrible if they don’t.” In his book, Mnookin argues that shared parenting agreements where there is “substantial parental conflict” invite more legal conflict, not less, and children often feel even more caught in the middle of parental conflict than they do already.