Law Students: Learning to Negotiate in Litigation

Law Students: Learning to Negotiate in Litigation


As an attorney, you will be expected to be good at negotiating, and your clients will rely on you to use these skills in their stead, especially in litigation issues. As a trial attorney, however, you are held to an even higher benchmark, presumed to be a master at arguing, negotiating, and in some cases, a lot of getting down to the nitty gritty with bargaining. As a law student, you will inevitably find nearly every minute of your life filled with class, preparing for class, studying, becoming prolific as a writer of outlines, and more. You may, just like so many other of your peers, be a natural negotiator.

Winning an argument and making your point concisely and clearly may have always been an intuitive talent, however, as you move into a career in law these skills must be finely honed, as this is where a great deal of the ‘action’ in your practice will take place throughout the years—and hopefully it will yield much success in the majority of your cases. No one likes to lose, and especially not the client. As you learn to negotiate even more adeptly, and in a manner that is centered around litigation, you may wonder how any student could exit law school without a focus on negotiation training.

Key aspects to learn and remember as a negotiator include:

  • Research, research, research! Know your opponent and all the details of the case inside and out. While this may seem like common sense, you may be shocked at what an advantage you have over other legal teams who do not take time to perform all the necessary legwork.
  • Striking a balance between flexibility in settling or taking it all the way – while most cases do settle, be firm in your resolve to take the case to court if you and your client are not happy with the current environment; of course, you must have sufficient leverage to do so too, and know how to strengthen your case in that area if necessary.
  • Keeping the emphasis on what is fair between both parties – with the knowledge that everyone thinks they are right for the most part, in most cases, work to understand what everyone wants. Unless you want the case and the conflict to continue indefinitely, bringing everyone together with a reasonable compromise can result in a powerful ending overall, along with adding to your credibility for the future. Playing hardball may be the best option in some scenarios but consider what your client wants before pushing the other party too far.
  • Following through – when a settlement is reached, make sure that all parties involved sign the necessary documents and complete their responsibilities as outlined.

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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