Business and Commercial Role-Play:

Law Library, The


John Palenberg, Elizabeth Gray, Deborah Winter, and Wayne Davis

Two-party negotiation between representatives of two law firms over the sale of a collection of law books


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.

PLEASE NOTE: This role simulation was updated in 2005 with higher dollar figures, to make it seem more realistic and worthwhile. The older version with the original dollar figures is available upon request.



Burns & Burns, a law firm, is splitting into two new firms, the smaller of which wants to sell 300 volumes from its library that form a set on a specialized topic. So far they have not received any particularly attractive offer. The small law firm of Jones and Solomon is now interested. Purchasing these books as a used set could save Jones & Solomon money over assembling a new library. Two young lawyers are meeting to discuss whether a deal is possible.



The exercise can be run in a one-on-one or two-on-two configuration. Negotiation time can range from 20-45 minutes; 30 is usual. Preparation time can be as little as 30 minutes, but it is helpful to allow time for a little outside research on the law book industry. Review can range from 30-90 minutes, and is enhanced by participant demonstrations. These can be new negotiations between people who have just done the negotiation, but not with each other, negotiations between participants who have held off negotiating until this time, or continuing negotiations between participants who have been unable to settle. Both during the basic negotiations and any demonstrations, one or both negotiators can be given additional instructions on the style of negotiation to employ.



  • This is an excellent case for exploring the uses of objective criteria. A variety of criteria can be gathered from the case and outside research, and others, with a little thought, can be inferred.
  • This case is also a convenient vehicle for exploring different systems of negotiation and how they fare against each other.
  • The relationship of BATNA to bottom line is easily illustrated here.
  • The case suggests how seldom one encounters a true single-issue negotiation. A little reflection suggests the presence of significant opportunities to expand the pie. In particular, the possibility of establishing an ongoing relationship that might lead to client referrals merits careful consideration.



For all parties:

  • List of Some Possible Objective Criteria


Role Specific:

  • Confidential Instructions for the:
  • Sellers — Burns & Burns
  • Buyers — Jones & Solomon


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Draft Teaching Note



Anchoring; Authority; BATNA; Constituents; Cost-benefit analysis; Information exchange; Lawyering; Legitimacy; Meaning of "success"; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Options, generating; Relationship; Reservation price; Systems of negotiation; Yesable propositions

Law Library, The Attributes

Time required: 30-minutes - 1 hour
Number of participants: 2
Teams involved: No
Agent present: Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Non-English version available: Dutch, Japanese, German, Russian, Swedish