Robert G. Burdick
Director, Civil Law Clinical Program
Interests: civil law; negotiation; ethical decision making
As director of the Civil Law Clinical Program, in which students represent clients in real-life cases, Robert Burdick comments, “It’s wonderful to watch students, who are just at the beginning of their careers, assume so much responsibility. They are fully aware of how high the stakes are for their clients, and they work very hard on their clients’ behalf.”
After joining the School of Law as a clinical instructor in 1975, Professor Burdick became acting director of the Legal Aid Program in 1977, and then its director in 1979. During his career, he has led significant litigation in a number of civil law areas involving anti-discrimination lawsuits, tenants’ rights cases and insurance company claim settlement practices. In addition, he has become a nationally recognized authority in the area of negotiation, leading training programs for the Washington State Legislature, Connecticut Legal Services and the Alaska Attorney General’s Office.
Recognizing the difficulty of teaching negotiation to law students, Professor Burdick has developed his own teaching model, which has been used to train School of Law students enrolled in the civil clinics. The model also has become the basis of an innovative negotiation “game,” which he uses to teach conflict resolution skills to middle school and high school students in the Boston area.