Bruce Patton

By — on / Affiliated Faculty, PON Faculty

Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Negotiation Project, Harvard Law School

Bruce Patton collaborated with Roger Fisher to pioneer the teaching of negotiation at Harvard Law School, where he was Thaddeus R. Beal Lecturer on Law for 15 years. He continues to teach the Negotiation Workshop and Advanced Negotiation Workshop in the Harvard Negotiation Institute, the Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives, and occasional courses for law students. In 1984, he co-founded Conflict Management Inc. (CMI), a negotiation consulting and training firm, and Conflict Management Group (now part of Mercy Corps), a not-for-profit entity that works on conflicts of public concern. In 1997, he and four CMI/Harvard Negotiation Project colleagues founded Vantage Partners LLC, an international consulting firm that helps Global 2000 companies negotiate and manage strategic relationships for bottom-line results.

Patton is the co-author of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In (2nd ed., Penguin, 1991), which has been printed in 36 languages. He also co-authored Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Viking/Penguin, 1999), a New York Times business bestseller.


A.B., Harvard College

J.D., Harvard Law School

Research interests

Effective negotiation techniques, mediation and multiparty alignment processes, dispute systems design, organizational capacity-building mechanisms for effective negotiation, relationship, conflict management in strategic contexts, negotiation pedagogy

Selected publications

  • “The Deceptive Simplicity of Teaching Negotiation.” Negotiation Journal 25, no. 4 (October 2009): 481–498.
  • With Michelle Gravelle and Scott Peppet. “Enlightened Power through Difficult Conversations.” In Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, edited by Linda Coughlin, Ellen Wingard, and Keith Hollihan. Jossey-Bass, 2005.
  • “Negotiation.” In The Handbook of Dispute Resolution, edited by Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone. Jossey-Bass, 2005.


The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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