Legal Role-Play:

People v. Malvenue


Ron Karp and Bruce Patton

Two-party plea bargaining negotiation between a prosecutor and the court-appointed defender for a man accused of abusing his wife, who refuses to sign the complaint against him


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.


On answering a call from a concerned neighbor who overheard fighting and screaming, the police arrived at the home of the Malvenues. In their investigation, they saw bruises on Mrs. Malvenue, who stated that her husband had beaten her. George Malvenue was then arrested and charged with assault and battery. Mr. Malvenue, a gas station attendant, has a serious criminal record. However, his wife, who raises their four-year-old son, loves George and worries about making it without him, even though she is afraid of him. She has refused to sign the complaint. Mr. Malvenue's court-appointed attorney is about to speak to the prosecutor. They have different resolutions in mind, although avoiding a trial is something of a mutual concern.



This one-on-one negotiation can run 10-30 minutes. Videotaping and review is useful for building awareness of nonverbal communication.



  • This case presents the lawyer's classic conflict of personal values and professional responsibility, and the analogous problem for society of deciding when to impose its views in interpersonal relations.
  • Cooperative, competitive, and principled approaches can each lead to quite different outcomes, raising questions about which is better and why.
  • The case is a good vehicle for exploring conscious and unconscious nonverbal communication. Such an exploration virtually requires videotaping.



Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for the:

  • District Attorney
  • Defense Attorney


Teacher's Package includes:

  • All of the above



Attorney/Client relations; BATNA; Commitment; Compliance; Credibility; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Gilligan, two voices; Lawyering; Legitimacy; Objective criteria; Personality; Risk aversion

People v. Malvenue Attributes

Time required: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Number of participants: 2
Teams involved: No
Agent present: Lawyer
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: No