Case Studies Greatest Hits

As the year comes to a close, we’d like to share our greatest hits of 2014. Do you have our top cases and role plays yet?

Top Three New Cases of 2014:

  1. Sue the Consumer: Digital Copyright in the New Millennium (FREE)

An Advanced Problem Solving Workshop background note about the Recording Industry Association of America’s lawsuits against illegal fire-sharing and peer-to-peer music downloading, first directed at companies and later at downloaders. This note discusses the U.S. regime of statutory damages, relevant file-sharing technologies, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and gets readers to envision a future for end users and digital content.

  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (FREE)

A Problem Solving Workshop case in four installments that places participants in the role of new attorneys at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tasked with interpreting the bureau’s statutory mandate to “consider the potential benefits and costs” of rulemakings. Part 1 of the case outlines the problem and relevant court decisions, while Part 2 asks participants to evaluate whether the agency has followed mandates, precedent, and best practices. Participants develop policy guidelines with respect to particular objectives in Part 3, and synthesize these guidelines into a memorandum in Part 4.

3. Set Sale!

A role play in which a law firm negotiates the sale a small collection of art to a museum. This role play introduces basic negotiation concepts and teaches students to manage distributive issues.

Ten Most Downloaded Cases of 2014:

1. Diego Primadonna

A negotiation role play in which a veteran soccer player tries to sign with a Brazilian football club experiencing a slump. In striking a deal, participants will practice probing for interests and creating value, in addition to learning about the zone of possible agreement and distributional strategy.

2. Ernest Shackleton’s Journey to the Endurance

A discussion-based case study about explorer Ernest Shackleton’s dramatic voyage to the Antarctic, a great example of effective teamwork and leadership in crisis.

3. The Case of the Medical Stent

A four-part Problem Solving Workshop case chronicling a contact negotiation about a medical device that ultimately fell apart. Aspects of the arrangement led either to litigation or to settlement. The case highlights the disparity between the negotiated arrangement and the lived relationship, and allows students to view contracting as a problem solving process. The case also delves into ethical issues and strategy.

4. The Case of the Commissioner’s Choice

A four-part hypothetical Problem Solving Workshop case based a real regulatory dilemma. A local Department of Health and Environment must decide whether to issue a permit to a coal power plant, considering public welfare, political aspirations, climate change, and job creation. Participants weed through a hefty administrative record to advise the department’s Commissioner about her legal authority and the repercussions of her decision. Participants will deliver both a memorandum and an oral presentation.

5. Three Vignettes on Pricing of Professional Services

A discussion-based case study with three examples of pricing: the first involves a client choosing between pricing structures for home renovation; the second discusses a client’s request to discount the firm’s services; and the third looks at how to respond to client requests for alternative fee arrangements. Participants weigh merits of various pricing structures, learn to balance a variety of factors, and make space for both creativity and standardization.

6. Client Service at Fraser and Stephens

A discussion-based case study presenting three situations at a mid-size law firm: the first involves a client complaint about a partner’s attitude and commitment; the second looks at the problem of a client’s proliferating work; and the third discusses the response needed when a client quietly hires co-counsel. Firm leaders and professionals can reflect on what it means to be client-oriented and service-focused.

7. Ellen Harvey

A discussion-based case study in which a partner at an accounting firm reflects on her success and mentoring. This case highlights the link between development and organizational performance as well as the ways senior professionals can mentor their colleagues.

8. Bingham McCutchen: Combinatorial Mathematics

A discussion-based case study about a local law firm’s rise to international prominence through a series of mergers. The case discusses inorganic growth, the logistics of acquisition and merger, and the challenges of managing a burgeoning firm. Participants will think about strategy, change management, and future trajectories.

9. Practice Economics in a Professional Partnership

A discussion-based case study about drivers of profitability in professional service partnerships and the relationships between these drivers. This case is excellent for management or business planning courses.

10. Harborco

A six-player, multi-issue scorable negotiation role play disputing the construction of a deep-water port. Harborco, the consortium interested in building the port, must promote buy-in and gain support from other stakeholders in order to obtain a necessary license. Participants learn more about coalition strategies and elementary utility analysis.

About Elizabeth Moroney

Case Studies Editorial Assistant
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