John Sturrock

Category: 1980s /  All Harkness Stories /  Law & Criminal Justice /  Politics & Public Services / 

John Sturrock (HF 1984 – 85) QC stepped out of the legal world in 1984 as a Harkness Fellow to study for a Masters’ Degree in International Law at the University of Pennsylvania. On returning to Scotland, he resumed a career in law at the Scottish Bar but his life had been changed. In the 1990’s, inspired by connections in the US and his knowledge of its legal system, he adapted the leading advocacy skills programme of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy into a Scottish context, establishing an award winning programme for his professional colleagues. Later, he studied negotiation at Harvard under Professor Roger Fisher (of Getting to Yes fame) and, leaving law, embarked on a second career as a mediator and negotiation consultant. He has helped to transform dispute resolution in his home country and elsewhere, and is now a world-recognised figure in the conflict resolution and policy-making field, working with politicians, governments, corporate leaders, Olympic athletes and many others – and mediating in complex disputes in many different contexts, often in the public context. In May 2018, in Edinburgh, John hosted and chaired the annual conference of the International Academy of Mediators, which he regards as a culmination of a journey which started as a Harkness Fellow thirty four years earlier and which gave him the confidence to look outward and across the Atlantic for ideas, learning and friendships.