Breaking the Stalemate in Legal Negotiations

Breaking the Stalemate in Legal Negotiations


While negotiating may be an art, it can also be an intense exercise in patience–especially in the presence of a stalemate. One must be able to look at the complete overview, see the total picture, understand the backgrounds of both sides, get a grip on how the legal conflict came to be in the first place, and create a strategy that not only pleases the client with a successful outcome, but hopefully allows everyone to win in the end somehow.

Even the best, the brightest, and the most experienced negotiators can meet the dreaded impasse though. It can be frustrating if you have already been at the bargaining table for hours and days even, only to find you seem to have arrived … nowhere? This could be for numerous reasons, but usually rigid thinking on the part of one side—or both—may have taken over. This could be an emotional response or just a stubborn reluctance to let go of the conflict, or perhaps the offer on the table flat out just isn’t good enough.

You may be watching tempers flare (hopefully not yours), along with experiencing the same amount of exhaustion everyone else is, or more. At this point it is your job as a good negotiator to help everyone think of another way to break out of what may seem like a difficult deadlock. The key is in shaking things up a bit, encouraging everyone to do that ever famous ‘thinking outside of the box,’ and maybe even bringing in some other members of the organization (or another negotiator).

After taking a breather and seeing if you can bring some new blood into the talks, consider moving to a more relaxed setting and speaking candidly about what everyone really wants out of the deal. Is it possible to achieve a win-win all around? Ask everyone to discuss how that might be possible. Does either side have additional information or other concerns they may be willing to talk about? To move stalled negotiations along, you may also consider offering something new or additional while also asking the other side to make a concession on something that is meaningful to your client.

Are you interested in becoming a skilled negotiator? Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your 4-year course of study you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.

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