Negotiation In A Down Economy


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Some helpful hints for negotiating from a position of weakness in difficult economic times. Given to the LACBA Solo and Small Firm and Legal Tech conference in June of 2009

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  • We value money more as it relates to our relative position than to an absolute number. I may be happy making $150K/year as an attorney until my step-son makes $200K in his first year of practice; Heller Ehrman collapse: $1 million earners said if anyone had asked, they would have sacrificed to make the middle happy; sense of equity so strong even animals demand it
  • When use the word “winner” you assume only one person can win: it’s a ZERO SUM GAME People waste time figuring out how to divide the pie instead of inventing ways to expand it Lose/lose; win/lose or a 50/50 split HOW CAN BOTH PLAYERS “WIN”?
  • Ask diagnostic questions
  • MY business: fairness; equity; autonomy (not being extorted); revenge; reconciliation COME BACK TO THIS
  • Board of Directors
  • Negotiation In A Down Economy

    1. 1. Negotiating in a Down Economy LACBA Solo & Small Firm and Legal Tech Convention Victoria Pynchon and the Hon. Alexander Williams, III (Ret.) ADR Services, Inc . All lawyer cartoons courtesy of the brilliant Charles Fincher of
    2. 2. <ul><li>5 years full-time neutral experience </li></ul><ul><li>25 years commercial litigation/trial experience </li></ul><ul><li>LL.M Dispute Resolution, Straus Institute </li></ul><ul><li>20 years teaching experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business Law, Cal State Northridge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiation & Mediation Strategy & Tactics: Straus Institute, UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC Law School, Fortune 500 In-house counsel, AmLaw 200 firms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Institute of Trial Advocacy </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Hon. Alexander Williams III </li></ul><ul><li>Settled hundreds of major civil cases as Superior Court Judge (24 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Full-time Settlement Judge for 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Adjunct Professor, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Co-Teacher, California Judicial College Civil Settlements Course </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor, Los Angeles Superior Court Settlement Courses </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of hours of formal ADR training (Pepperdine, Harvard, ABA, et al.) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Peacemaker of the Year,” Southern California Mediation Association </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why do people seek the services of attorneys?
    5. 6. Relative Benefits v. Absolute Numbers
    6. 7. Persuasion Exercise <ul><li>Object of the game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get your partner to come over to your side of the line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The winners will each will $1.00 </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>What do we most want to know </li></ul>
    8. 9. What do they WANT??????
    9. 14. Tit for Tat Most Successful Negotiation Strategy <ul><li>Cooperate </li></ul><ul><li>Retaliate for failure to cooperate </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly forgive </li></ul><ul><li>Return to cooperation </li></ul>
    10. 15. Dealing with Difficult People
    11. 16. Behind every accusation is a cry for help
    12. 17. <ul><li>They’re not difficult </li></ul><ul><li>They are uninformed </li></ul>
    13. 18. <ul><li>They don’t understand the case law </li></ul><ul><li>They haven’t considered trading items of low value to them but high value to you </li></ul><ul><li>They don’t foresee the bright economic future you do </li></ul><ul><li>They are too distracted by emotional considerations to make rational choices </li></ul><ul><li>You haven’t given them a way to accept your view without losing face </li></ul>
    14. 19. <ul><li>They are not irrational They have hidden constraints </li></ul>
    15. 22. <ul><li>They’re not evil; they have hidden interests. </li></ul>From Bazerman & Malhotra, Negotiation Genius
    16. 24. Gaining the Upper Hand
    17. 25. The Population of Syria 18,448,752
    18. 26. <ul><ul><li>Nature of problem deal is capable of resolving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Characterize deal in way favorable to your strengths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Routine extension of old rather than new “deal” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View sale of biz as stand-alone vs. synergy created by acquisition by buyer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on future rather than present </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on value to BOTH parties </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 27. framing
    20. 28. Negotiating from a Position of Weakness
    21. 29. <ul><li>Don’t reveal own weakness </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage their Weakness </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and value your worth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish metrics of value that satisfy party interests: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attorney-client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>partner-associate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>plaintiff-defendant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attorney-judge </li></ul></ul>
    22. 30. Reframe Weakness as Strength <ul><li>1912 Presidential campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Used photo of Roosevelt without permission </li></ul><ul><li>3 million copies printed </li></ul><ul><li>Penalty $1/copy </li></ul>
    23. 31. <ul><li>Telegram: planning to print 3 million copies of campaign speech. Excellent opportunity for photographers. </li></ul><ul><li>How much are you willing to pay us to use your photograph? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Appreciate opportunity but can afford to pay $250.” </li></ul>
    24. 33. <ul><li>Be conscious </li></ul><ul><li>Be curious </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect back answers </li></ul><ul><li>Require cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solve </li></ul>