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Five Common Negotiation Errors By Lawyers

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

From my experience as a lawyer and a mediator for a number of years I have seen some errors by lawyers including:

 1. Inability To Listen to People - one of the aspects of legal training and acting as a lawyer, is that it encourages one to make judgments and many lawyers I have met just cannot wait to judge, often against the opposing party. This undermines the ability to understand and to influence. If you are speaking to a lawyer and are not listened to, how will that make you feel? 

2. Inability to Relate to the Other Side - Nearly always when I have provided training on a mediation course for lawyers I have noticed there was a lack of time taken by some of the lawyer participants to try to relate to some of the parties. From experience, a bit of table talk and rapport building goes a long way, even with people who are deemed to be opponents.

3. Opposing Case Trashing. In negotiation/litigation it is necessary to advocate ones case. But criticising the other side's case rarely works and just winds the other side up. Go figure. There are more effective ways to influence the opposing side.

4. Lack of Accurate Case Assessment. Time and time again lawyers form inaccurate view of their client's case. Why? Over-emphasis on relationship with their clients can lead to bias and desire to communicate how wonderful they/or their client is.

5 Failure to Recognise Fundamental Wants and Needs of Their Client and The Opposing Clients. Whenever I am dealing with a  case I am always trying to beyond the legal analysis and look at this. What is my client looking for? Is this case just about money? If you can identify unseen objectives of all the parties, it puts you in a stronger position.