Setting the Scene: How Comfortable Should Everyone Be During Negotiations?
While some negotiations are cut and dry, and everyone is happy in a surprisingly efficient amount of time, those will probably be the bonus rounds in your career—the cherries on top. Other times, negotiations may be long, drawn-out, excruciating—and even heated; and after all, if the parties involved were able to agree easily, they would not need your services, and the other side would not have needed to retain legal counsel either.
You may be a natural born debater and usually the one to come out on the winning end of any argument, but successful negotiators usually evolve through experience and learning, rather than just instincts. And while negotiations may not always be so much about winning as they are about reaching a successful outcome for everyone involved, you will need to do your work ahead of time. This means being a researcher.
The other party should become extremely familiar to you before you even walk into the room. Your client may be able to give you a wealth of information about them, filling you in on why the negotiation is necessary, to begin with, how the dispute began, and basic facts about the other side. Additionally, dig deeper if possible, into any hints about their personal or business lives, gaining an understanding of how motivated they may be to settle, or not. Are they financially stable? Or are they in trouble? Is this person historically easy to deal with? Or difficult?
In creating the ‘stage’ for negotiations, consider what type of person you’re working with, and what type of atmosphere you want to generate. If this is a traditional business negotiation, you may want an atmosphere closer to a corporate boardroom that reminds everyone of a meeting they want to end as quickly as possible, or you may even suggest negotiations over a meal—or perhaps you may take mediations and alternative dispute resolution techniques as inspiration and offer a casual, relaxed setting conducive to prompting more candid discussions. In the end, if your initial setting or method of negotiating is not fruitful, don’t be afraid to try a different path.
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.