Negotiation as an Option

Law practice is negotiation. Whether you are attempting to conclude an acquisition agreement, trying to settle a personal injury claim, or conferring with a client about pending legal matters, you are negotiating. In the final analysis, all of a lawyer’s legal 

training and professional expertise is directed toward one objective—solving the client’s problems. Negotiation is the primary tool for doing just that. Consequently, lawyers who cannot effectively negotiate cannot effectively practice law.

While every lawyer will undoubtedly agree that negotiation is an important skill, few view it as the single most important factor to the overall success of their practice. Be assured that it is. Negotiation is by far the most frequently used device to resolve conflicts and claims. Negotiation is the only process available to form and give order to business relationships. It is the process that combines legal training and experience with interpersonal skills to achieve tangible results. We like to think of negotiation as being the action side of a law practice.

To illustrate this point, consider the following:

  • More than 95 percent of all civil claims are concluded by negotiation, not litigation.
  • Of those claims that actually go to trial, only a fraction go to verdict, and of those that do, a substantial portion are settled by negotiation pending appeal.Every conceivable type of business relationship is created by negotiation.The overwhelming majority of inmates currently serving time in United States penal institutions are there because of a negotiated plea bargain.

Lawyers enjoy a decided advantage when it comes to negotiation. While the reasons for this are both real and imagined, the fact remains that lawyers have a head start over the layperson in the give and take of negotiation.