Becoming a Practitioner

Larry Susskind

Co-Director of the Public Disputes Program, Inter-University Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

It's very important to keep practice in touch with the results of research and scholarship and likewise we're never going to train people to do this work if we think this is an academic pursuit. You can train them from books to be mediators, but there has to be a commitment to internships and a period of being a prot‚g‚ or an apprentice to be able to do this work. Which means all the organizations doing this work have to accept responsibility for making sure there's a next generation of skilled people as part of their normal operations. You can't say, "There's a lot of degree programs now and that we don't need to worry about this because that's not going to work." We can't say, "Oh well I'm not here in practice, what do I care what they're doing in the University." You got to really keep the ties between theory and practice very, very close.