Joven Narwal and Professor John Kleefeld presented their work “Plea Bargaining: Lessons Learned from Teaching Negotiation in the Criminal Justice Context” at the 6th Annual SoTL Conference for Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, held in Savannah, Georgia, from March 27 – 29, 2013.
The work was based on a simulation created by Mr. Narwal and Professor Kleefeld to teach negotiation and dispute resolution to law students in the criminal justice context. After receiving readings and lecture from Mr. Narwal on the ethics and issues involved in criminal-law plea bargaining, students were given the scenario for the simulation, assigned the roles of prosecutor or defence counsel, and given email accounts that allowed them to negotiate anonymously. The defence counsel had access to a client; the prosecutor had access to a senior prosecutor—in both cases, by email as well, with these additional roles played by the instructors. The exercise took place over the course of a week in November 2011 and November 2012.
Using materials from the scenario and excerpts from the students’ learning journals, Mr. Narwal and Professor Kleefeld presented the results which demonstrated that this type of simulation results in better integration of skills and theory and to deeper and longer-lasting learning. The presentation was a step toward a publication that will encourage innovative teaching and learning in law schools and contribute to the growing scholarship on plea bargaining.