In the early 1960s, Gerard I. Nierenberg—a successful New York attorney who confounded the usual labels (e.g., criminal lawyer, negligence lawyer, real estate lawyer) and thought of himself more as a problem solver—identified negotiating skills as one of the keys to his extraordinary success. But he found it curious that in a society where lawyers were expected to be negotiators, they had absolutely no training in the process. At that time not a single book, course, or resource addressed the subject of negotiating. Gerard Nierenberg’s law firm represented such nations as Bangladesh, Cameroon, and Kenya and The Declaration of Independence for Bangladesh was signed in his office.
In 1966, Mr. Nierenberg founded The Negotiation Institute, an educational non-profit institute dedicated to advancing the ‘art’ of negotiation. In 1968, he published the first book on the subject, The Art of Negotiating, and with this groundbreaking work developed a process by which negotiation could be effectively taught and practiced. The immediate success of the book created a demand for public and customized in-house workshops on The Art of Negotiating®, which Mr. Nierenberg began leading in 1968. Within nine months, he had presented his public seminars in 60 different cities to great acclaim. As these presentations grew in both size and popularity, he began recruiting the nation’s top negotiators to train in his unique methods. Within a short time, Mr. Nierenberg and his associates were being sought out to deliver in-house seminars to industries of all sizes and segments, as well as to governmental organizations and agencies worldwide.
As interest in Mr. Nierenberg’s proprietary negotiating methods grew, he and the Institute offered encouragement and mentoring to law schools, universities, and colleges who wanted to present his material. United in their fundamental belief in the effectiveness of the negotiating process, the Institute’s members have made a commitment to spread their pioneering knowledge of negotiating techniques. Mr. Nierenberg—hailed by Forbes as “the father of contemporary negotiation”, and consistently sought out by organizations and such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal for his expert opinions on negotiating—truly revolutionized the way people negotiated through his “Everybody Wins®” philosophy, wherein all negotiating parties aim for mutuality of satisfaction. This concept, revolutionary in its inception, has become thecurrent thinking on what is commonly referred to today as ‘interest-based negotiation’. His 22 books–many of them bestsellers and still widely popular to this day–were translated into 30 languages and his audio, video, and software products were available throughout the world. A pioneer in the use of teleconferencing, he conducted programs for groups such as the American Bar Association, for which he trained nearly 700 lawyers in 39 separate locations at one time.
Gerard I. Nierenberg held the title of Chairman Emeritus of The Negotiation Institute and President of Human Rights Advocates International, an NGO member of the United Nations, until his death in 2012.