Negotiation, How The Fuck Does It Work? Part 1, Getting to No.

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.

Continue reading “Negotiation, How The Fuck Does It Work? Part 1, Getting to No.”

How To Make A Client Settle- Prepare Them From The Start

Alright, I’ve talked in the past about how clients suck, about how clients are liars, about how clients are righteous motherfuckers, about how clients frustrate and infuriate, etc.  The take away from a lot of this is I don’t have a lot of fuckin’ love for clients in general.  The practice of law would be a wonderful thing if it wasn’t for the mouth-breathers that tend to waltz in the office doors with a bucket of problems and a small bag of pennies to pay with.  However, as clients tend to be an necessary part of me being able to afford things like new socks, I grudgingly tolerate and accept them.

But even I, a certified client-hater, know that nine times out of ten when a lawyer is bitching about a client they’re actually bitching about themselves.  Simply put, clients aren’t always the most intelligent beings on the face of the earth, and therefore a client can be managed if the lawyer sets down expectations early.  Still I hear about it at every bar function: how some low-life shitbird has fucked up their attorney’s day by refusing to settle or demanding a day in court.  They’ll kvetch over how shitty the claim is or how reasonable the offer was, and then, while swilling whiskey, proclaim “My client’s a fucking idiot.”  I have no sympathy in many cases.

You know what?  That’s your fucking fault, man.  That’s a result of shit you did early on and kept fucking doing right up until a settlement offer came in and you, probably correctly, advised that accepting it was the best offer.  However, your client got stars in their eyes and didn’t want to settle now.  They had faith in you, they believed everything you said to them early on, and their confidence has only grown since then.  Why should they take $100,000 or $200,000 when initially you told them they could get $500,000?

So how the fuck did you get in this mess in the first place, and how the fuck can you get out of this mess?  Well, I mean, now you’re only getting out of it by forcing the client to see the reasonableness of a settlement, with a ball bat if necessary.  How can you avoid getting into it in the first place?

By managing their expectations realistically, fuckwit.  

Continue reading “How To Make A Client Settle- Prepare Them From The Start”