A long time ago, Chris Nolland taught a negotiations class at SMU Law (and he still does). I took that class and still have somewhat fond memories of it. One thing that Chris taught me was that I didn’t know how to negotiate.
Since that time, I’ve had the chance to negotiate–a lot–and I’m still trying live up to Chris’ standards.
When I decided to become a mediator, I called Chris. I asked him if I could shadow him for a mediation to see how things work. I wanted to shadow Chris because he’s one of the best mediators anywhere. I thought that my call wouldn’t be returned, or that he’d be too busy for a newbie like me. Was I wrong. He invited me to a mediation, talked to me during the mediation, and afterwards generously provided advice on how to run a practice. He also gave me a lead to some of the best chicken soup in Dallas.
When I was chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s ADR Section, I asked Chris to talk to the bar. He did without any reservations or hesitation.
So I was very pleased to see that the Dallas Morning News wrote an article about Chris, his vision in the field of settlement counsel and his successes as settlement counsel. It’s a practice that Chris was able to see before anyone else. He’s smart and he’s a visionary.
So to Chris, I offer my sincerest congratulations on this recognition. It’s well deserved and I publicly thank you for taking the time to help me become the negotiator and mediator that I am today, although I still have a lot of work to do. The chicken soup suggestion was excellent, as well.
One last note: my friend John DeGroote is quoted in the article. John and I found each other through blogging on mediation and negotiations, and I’m happy to say that I was at the “house warming” of his new mediation complex in Dallas at the Hickory Street Annex. The office is comfortable and cutting edge at the same time. You need to visit it–I bet you’ll see something different from every angle. That’s how great mediators and negotiators–like Chris and John–see things.