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Conducting Negotiations With Own Clients

By Charles B. Craver

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When legal and business representatives negotiate with third parties on behalf of their clients and firms, they often fail to appreciate the fact they must simultaneously conduct similar interactions with their own principals. As soon as it becomes clear that those principals wish to have their representatives conduct bargaining interactions on their behalf, they must sit down with their principals and work to determine what those persons hope they will be able to obtain. The representatives must initially ask a number of questions to determine the operative factual, economic, business, and legal issues involved. It is imperative that they ascertain both the strengths and weaknesses affecting their own side, to enable them to prepare effectively for the impending discussions with the opposing parties. If they fail to appreciate the negative factors influencing their own side, they are likely to be overly affected by disclosures pertaining to those issues made during their discussions with the other side. On the other hand, if they are fully knowledgeable regarding such issues, they are unlikely to be meaningfully affected by opponent references to those matters.

Once the representatives have obtained the relevant information, they have to work with themselves – and their principals – to establish three critical benchmarks. First, what is their bottom line? What are the non-settlement options available to their side if no agreement is achieved with the other side? The more advantageous their non-settlement alternatives are, the greater bargaining power they possess. They must always remember that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and never enter into terms that would be worse than what would happen to their side if no accord was achieved. They must then establish the goals for the different items to be exchanged. It is imperative for them to establish elevated goals, based upon the fact there is a direct correlation between aspiration levels and outcomes. Negotiators who expect to obtain beneficial terms do so more effectively than negotiators with modest objectives. On the other hand, the established goals must be realistic, or either no agreement can be achieved or they will ultimately give up on their goals and fall toward their bottom lines.

Conducting Negotiations With Own Clients By Charles B. Craver


Copyright ©2014 Charles B. Craver
Copyright ©   2014  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  June – July 2014