August 14, 2012

Even though attorneys negotiate repeatedly within their own firms, with their own clients, and with outside parties on behalf of their clients, most have not had formal training with respect to this critical legal skill. They have not taken formal law school classes on negotiating, and they have not read much on this subject. It can be especially beneficial for attorneys to take continuing legal education courses on negotiating, and to occasionally read new books on this topic. These books may deal specifically with legal or business interactions, or they may be more generic in scope. If they read such a book from time to time and ask themselves how they are doing, they can greatly improve their bargaining skills. They can begin to appreciate the things they are doing well – and the things they might need to modify. Every time I read a new book or article exploring the bargaining process, I get new ideas and rethink current concepts.

It can also be helpful for attorneys to compare negotiating notes with their colleagues from time to time. They can talk about on-going encounters and ask their cohorts what they might do in this situation or discuss recently completed interactions to see what their cohorts might have done differently. Persons who negotiate repeatedly without ever taking the time to think about what they have done and what they might have done will often repeat their errors from one interaction to another. Individuals who regularly work to improve their bargaining skills should be able to enhance their ability to further client interests.