Negotiation

Negotiation Portal

Negotiation

What is negotiation? For our purposes, we can say that negotiation is the process of trying to persuade others to give us what we want. Even though your [case] is a legal matter, negotiating a settlement involves a great deal more than law. In your [. . . ] settlement, the law plays somewhat the same role as the out-of-bounds line of the football field. It is very important, but most of the game is played elsewhere on the field. In negotiating a settlement in your [case], it is helpful to think in terms other than law. The harsh reality is that bargaining over your [case] is more like horse trading or playing poker than anything else. The hand that you are dealt or the horse that you own is going to play a big part in the game. Nonetheless, the way you play makes a big difference in the outcome.

Remember:

Almost all of your bargaining power is built around the fact that you don’t have to settle. If you go to the negotiation party without a lawyer, you are defeating yourself. Perhaps the only words more American than “Remember the Alamo” are “I’m going to get a lawyer and sue you.” In our society these words carry power. If you really want to get a job done in negotiations, you won’t settle for cheap talk about what you are going to do if your [opponent] doesn’t agree. Just hire the lawyer. Don’t say a word about what you’re going to do. They’ll get the picture. It’s the difference between shouting “wolf ” and taking the wolf and setting it outside their door. It will save you money in the long run, and it may save your case.

Remember:

Negotiations often set the table for litigation, and you may inadvertently set a table that no lawyer can help you serve. There is no clear-cut line between negotiation and litigation. Every experienced lawyer knows that there are many places besides the courtroom where trials and mini-trials take place.

Negotiation Index

  1. Negotiation: Getting Yours
  2. Negotiation: Br’er Rabbit — The Father of Modern Negotiations
  3. Negotiation: Rabbit Rules

Rabbit Rule #1: Your Position Is Never Too Weak for Bargaining
Rabbit Rule #2: Be Flexible and Adaptable
Rabbit Rule #3: Be Realistic
Rabbit Rule #4: When Necessary, Cut Your Losses
Rabbit Rule #5: Don’t Tell the Other Side What You Want — Find Out What the Other Side Wants
Rabbit Rule #6: Use Short Sentences
Rabbit Rule #7: Let the Other Side Have Their Victories
Rabbit Rule #8: “Shock Treatment” Is of Very Limited Use in Negotiation
Rabbit Rule #9: Don’t Crow until the End
Rabbit Rule #10: Test the Water
Rabbit Rule #11: Don’t Give Your Negotiator Authority to Settle without Consultation
Rabbit Rule #12: Think Ahead or Leave the Back Door Open
Rabbit Rule #13: Watch Out for Mutt and Jeff