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Honoring Roger Fisher, ADR Leader and Innovator

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, August 29th, 2012

Most law school or business school students will, at some point, be asked to read, “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.” Written in 1981, the ideas the book espouses form the basis for much negotiation and mediation theory taught today. Any ADR practitioner, whether they’ve read the book or not, can give thanks for the life of Roger Fisher, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School and co-author of “Getting to Yes,” who passed away August 25, 2012.

Roger Fisher’s experiences in World War II prompted him to look for another, better way to resolve conflict without sacrificing people’s individual needs and interests. Thus, along with William Ury and Bruce Patton, Mr. Fisher developed the principle that people can be moved from focusing on their positions to identifying their underlying interests and coming up with creative solutions to have those interests met. The authors also co-founded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and wrote extensively on negotiation theory and practice.

His ongoing work to promote peace through understanding each other’s true needs will forever shape the landscape of ADR. His passing is a loss to us all.