Headshot of Melissa Nelken

Melissa Nelken

Emerita Honorable Raymond Sullivan Professor of Law


Professor Nelken attended Brandeis University, B.A. (1965), Harvard University, M.A. (1967), and the University of Michigan, J.D. (1974). She cofounded and was the Faculty Chair of the UC Law SF Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR). She is the author and coauthor of books and articles on negotiation, and has taught both trial advocacy and negotiation in continuing legal education programs around the country. A practicing psychoanalyst for over 20 years, she has also written on attorney sanctions and on the psychotherapist-patient privilege in federal court.

Professor Nelken lives in Berkeley with her husband, a UC Berkeley professor, and has three adult daughters.



Negotiation Theory and Practice (LexisNexis 2007).

Understanding Negotiation (Anderson Pub. Co. 2001).

Civil Procedure Anthology (Anderson Pub. Co. 1998) (with David I. Levine & Donald L. Doernberg).

Sanctions: Rule 11 and Other Powers (ABA 3d ed. 1992) (editor).

Problems and Cases in Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation (Nat’l Institute for Trial Advocacy 3d ed. 1986) (with Mark Schoenfield, Anthony Bocchino, & Thomas Geraghty) (with Teachers’ Manual).

NITA Teacher Training Program Materials (National Institute for Trial Advocacy 1985) (with K. Broun, U. Lester & J. Seckinger).

Problems and Cases in Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation (Nat’l Institute for Trial Advocacy 2d ed. 1983) (with Mark K. Schoenfield).

Problems and Cases in Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation (Nat’l Institute for Trial Advocacy 1982) (with Mark K. Schoenfield) (with Teachers’ Manual).

Journal Articles

Negotiating Classroom Process: Lessons from Adult Learning, 25 Negotiation J. 181 (2009). FULLTEXT

The Myth of the Gladiator and Law Students’ Negotiation Styles, 7 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 1 (2005). FULLTEXT

Psychotherapist–Patient Privilege in Federal Court, 11 J. Calif. Alliance Ment. Ill 76 (2000).

The Limits of Privilege: The Developing Scope of Federal Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege Law, 20 Rev. Litig. 1 (2000). FULLTEXT

Negotiation and Psychoanalysis: If I’d Wanted to Learn About Feelings, I Wouldn’t Have Gone to Law School, 46 J. Legal Educ. 420 (1996). FULLTEXT

Has the Chancellor Shot Himself in the Foot? Looking for a Middle Ground on Rule 11 Sanctions, 41 Hastings L.J. 383 (1990). FULLTEXT

The Impact of Federal Rule 11 on Lawyers and Judges in the Northern District of California, 74 Judicature 147 (1990). FULLTEXT

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Summary Judgment after Celotex, 40 Hastings L.J. 53 (1988). FULLTEXT

Sanctions Under Amended Federal Rule 11—Some “Chilling” Problems in the Struggle Between Compensation and Punishment, 74 Geo. L.J. 1313 (1986). FULLTEXT

Chapters In Books

Evaluating Email Negotiations, in Assessing Our Students, Assessing Ourselves: Volume 3 in the Rethinking Negotiation Teaching Series 205 (Noam Ebner, James Coben & Christopher Honeyman eds., DRI Press 2012).

If I’d Wanted to Teach About Feelings, I Wouldn’t Have Become a Law Professor, in Venturing Beyond the Classroom: Volume 2 in the Rethinking Negotiation Teaching Series 357 (Christopher Honeyman, James Coben & Giuseppe De Palo eds., DRI Press 2010) (with Andrea Kupfer Schneider & Jamil Mahuad).

Negotiating Learning Environments, in Rethinking Negotiation Teaching: Innovations for Context and Culture 199 (Christopher Honeyman, James Coben, & Giuseppe De Palo eds., DRI Press 2009) (with Bobbi McAdoo & Melissa Manwaring).

Introduction to SANCTIONS: RULE 11 AND OTHER POWERS 1 (ABA 3d ed. 1992). CATALOG

U.S. Supreme Court, in Sanctions: Rule 11 And Other Powers 9 (ABA 3d ed. 1992). CATALOG

Book Reviews

Book Review, 5 Psychoanalytic Books ___ (1994) (reviewing Glen O. Gabbard, Sexual Exploitation in Professional Relationships (1989)).

Book Review, 5 Psychoanalytic Books ___ (1994) (reviewing K.R. Eissler, Three Instances of Injustice (1993)).


  • Brandeis University

  • Harvard University

  • University of Michigan