Alright folks, let’s talk about the fine fucking art of negotiation. This isn’t exactly a new topic, with people writing about it all the goddamn time and there being a lot of books out there, like the seminal volume Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (a…pretty good read), but it’s one that I really haven’t written on yet, have I? No, I haven’t, you know, in case you’re the type of mouthbreather who can’t be bothered to actually read my past entries on this site to determine if I am, in fact being truthful.
By the way, fuck you for doubting me.
Anyhow, we’ve all been there before, ain’t we? On the verge of making a case that’s been sitting around like a thumbtack in your extra-wide ass go the fuck away by finally reaching some sort of reasonable resolution with opposing counsel. We’ve all felt the thrill of hearing a number that isn’t too far apart from your client’s number, and started to do that Snoopy dance of unmitigated joy at the prospect of finally closing the file. Sure, billables are great and all, but at some fuckin’ point continuing with the litigation just doesn’t make sense for anybody involved, and the clients are starting to get weary of paying the monthly invoice with no discernable (to them) movement on the case at all…because clients have no idea that 90% of legal work is done behind the scenes, and it’s hard to encapsulate “spent five hours desperately trying to salvage the claim from the client’s latest fuck-up” in a form on the invoice that doesn’t raise their unjustified ire.
So you waltz to opposing counsel and say “Hey, let me take this over to my guy, but I think I’m going to suggest we heavily consider this one.” Everything is right with the world, and your client says “Get me $1,000 more and we’re done.” Great! Who’s going to fight over a fucking grand?
Opposing counsel’s client, who just dropped their last offer by $6,000 in response to your counter. Congrats, you’ve gone from “a reasonable prospect of settlement” to “a goddamn negotiation.” So, what exactly are you dealing with? Shit man, that’s hard to say, because everyone out there negotiates stuff differently. Hey, why don’t we take three fucking days to talk about it?
Well, welcome aboard for the first day of my three part series on “Negotiation, How The Fuck Does That Work?” Today we’re gonna talk, really generally, about the issues in how negotiation styles are being taught to prospective lawyers. Tonight (or Monday), we’ll talk about The Types of Negotiators You’re Gonna Meet, then, to wrap the whole damn thing up, we’ll talk about how you can avoid being the fucking problem.
But, today, let’s just stick with the issues in how negotiation styles are being taught, and when I say “styles,” I mean the one fucking style law schools actually teach: Principled Negotiation.