Robert Bordone Appointed Clinical Professor

Robert Bordone

Robert C. Bordone

Robert Bordone, founding Director of the HLS Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program and the Thaddeus R. Beal Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, was promoted Thursday to full Clinical Professor of Law, Acting Dean Howell Jackson has announced. 

“Bob is a very gifted clinician and teacher, and we are very fortunate to have him on the faculty at Harvard Law School,” said Lisa Dealy, Assistant Dean for the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs. “He is nationally recognized for creating the best Negotiation and Mediation Clinic in the world, with truly outstanding and unparalleled projects for our students. We are delighted he has been promoted to Clinical Professor.” 

Bordone, who teaches several courses on negotiation and dispute resolution each year, is highly respected for his innovative and energetic teaching style, and for his leadership at the Negotiation and Mediation Clinic, one of more than 30 clinical programs at HLS. He developed and teaches the advanced Dispute Systems Design Seminar, a unique course aimed at instructing aspiring lawyers in how to assist clients in designing efficient systems for preventing, resolving, and managing disputes. 

In 2007, the graduating class of HLS selected Bordone for the prestigious Albert Sacks–Paul Freund Award, in the first year he was eligible to receive it. The award is given each year by the graduating class to recognize an HLS professor for excellence in teaching, attentiveness to student concerns, and general contribution to the quality of student life. 

In 2006, he developed and launched the first and only clinic in a U.S. law school focused on conflict assessment and dispute systems design, both cutting-edge topics in the field of ADR. Students are paired with outside organizations, institutions, or individuals to work on substantive and relevant projects that directly apply their negotiation skills to real problems. The Clinic is nationally recognized for its innovative projects, including a project with Ken Feinberg, the 9/11 Compensation Fund Special Master, to design a complex dispute resolution system to assist banks, state attorneys general, and homeowners mediate disputes arising from the mortgage foreclosure crisis. The project has attracted positive response from the Attorneys General of both Massachusetts and Maryland. In another project, clinical students traveled to Beijing over spring break to work with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Beijing office to design a three-day negotiation and consensus-building curriculum for elite Chinese environmental lawyers. 

A 1994 summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1997 cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School, Bordone began his teaching career at HLS as a teaching and research assistant in the Negotiation Workshop in 1996-1997, when he also was named the Harvard Negotiation Research Project/Hewlett Foundation Research Fellow. From 1997-1998, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., in Boston. In 1998, Bordone was named Deputy Director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project and also named a lecturer on law. 

Deeply involved in the Harvard community, Bordone was influential in the establishment of Harvard Negotiators, an HLS student organization that now boasts more than 50 active members and works in tandem with his clinic. He is the faculty adviser to and sits on the Advisory Board of the Harvard Mediation Program, an HLS Clinical Student Practice Organization, and is an associate editor of the Negotiation Journal, published by the HLS Program on Negotiation. Bordone has also coached HLS students in various inter-school negotiation competitions for the past three years. In 2006, Harvard Law School’s team won the National Negotiation Competition sponsored by the ABA; in 2007 and 2008, students won two consecutive first-place victories in The Negotiation Challenge, the first international negotiation competition in Europe. 

Bordone has written or co-authored more than 30 articles and case studies on topics of dispute resolution and negotiation, and co-edited and co-wrote two chapters in “The Handbook of Dispute Resolution.” The handbook won the 2005 book award of the National Institute for Advanced Conflict Resolution, an award presented for “the book published in the United States which shows the best promise for promoting and contributing to the field of conflict resolution.” It has since become one of the leading handbooks in the field and used at law schools and continuing legal education seminars throughout the country.

A nationally known expert in the growing field of ADR, Bordone has participated in more than 35 professional presentations on ADR and related topics as the featured speaker, a panelist, or the moderator, including events for the American Bar Association, the Kennedy School of Government, and other organizations. In May, he will be a panelist in Doha, Qatar, at the Qatar Law Forum for a discussion entitled, “International Dispute Resolution: Mediation, Arbitration, and the Place for Law and Economics.” 

HLS has the largest clinical legal education program in the world, with clinics in more than 36 different legal areas. There are nine clinical faculty among the HLS faculty, including Bordone, Deborah Anker, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program; Jim Cavallaro, Clinical Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Human Rights Program; David Grossman, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau; Wendy Jacobs, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic; Phillip Malone, Clinical Professor Law and Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Brian Price, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center; Ronald Sullivan, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute; and Alex Whiting, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law.

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