Toby Berkman

Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design

Toby Berkman is a Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) and affiliated faculty at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He is a facilitator, mediator, teacher, trainer, and author on public dispute resolution and multi-stakeholder collaboration. In these roles, he uses innovative and inclusive process design and facilitation to help groups collaborate across differences, identify creative solutions to (seemingly) intractable policy issues, advance equity and social justice, and reimagine relationships of power and shared responsibility.

Toby’s professional areas of focus include environmental justice, participatory governance, buildings, energy, land use, agriculture, transportation, urban development, climate change adaptation, environmental restoration and conservation, and oceans and water resources. His writing on conflict and dialogue has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the LA Times, and the Journal of Dispute Resolution, among other publications.

Toby specializes in designing consensus building processes to help clients address both internal and external negotiation and consensus building challenges. He has worked with senior managers, executives, and leaders at the U.S. State Department, Google, the World Bank, the MasterCard Foundation, and the United Nations, among other companies and institutions.

Prior to joining CBI, Toby worked as a litigator at Jenner & Block LLP, a law clerk for the Honorable Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York, and an Associate at Harvard Law School’s negotiation clinic. As a lawyer, he represented Fortune 500 technology, energy, and entertainment companies in securities and copyright litigation, contractual disputes, internal investigations, and international arbitrations. At Harvard, he helped lead the design team for the law school’s advanced course on multiparty negotiation.

Belief in the power of dialogue and collaboration is deeply rooted in Toby’s family history: His grandfather was raised in Japan, the son of American Christian missionaries, and served as a Navy doctor and translator during the invasion of Okinawa in WWII, where he used his dialogue skills to help convince Japanese civilians to accept American medical care, and later dedicated his career to Japanese-U.S. collaboration in the sciences.

Toby is a licensed attorney in the state of New York and a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, Environment and Public Policy and International sections. He is listed on the dispute resolution provider rosters of U.S. EPA, he is a member the American Bar Association, and he is a Certified Mediator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He also received an M.A. in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. cum laude from Harvard College.