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16 Ohio Law. 26 (2002)
The 10 Biggest Negotiation Mistakes Attorneys Make

handle is hein.journals/ohiolawr16 and id is 100 raw text is: Practice Tips
by Robert P Sherman

The 10 biggest negotiation
mistakes attorneys make

Why is it that one attorney
can walk into a negotiation
and in a matter of moments
have his or her positions met,
while another equally
competent attorney can
negotiate the same points for
hours and make no headway?
The answer lies in the
attorney's negotiation skills
and how he or she incorpo-
rates those skills.
Unfortunately, most attor-
neys spend little time
concentrating on negotiating
strategies. As a result, they
either avoid the negotiation
process whenever possible or
they resort to simplistic
rules of negotiation. Both
of these alternatives leave
clients in an awkward
situation: Their needs are not
fully being met.
Despite the fact that effective
negotiation is a key compo-
nent of success, few attorneys
have received formal training
in this area. Instead, they
learn by watching their peers
negotiate and adapt what
worked to their own styles.
Very often, the result is an
adversarial-type of negotia-
tion strategy that produces
poor results. The following
are the 10 biggest mistakes
attorneys make when they
negotiate. Eliminate these

errors from your next
negotiation and you will not
only set yourself apart from
the crowd, but also reach a
result that is reasonably
acceptable to all parties.
Failing to emotionally
distance yourself
Finding emotional distance
during negotiations is the key
component of every success-
ful negotiator. Emotion
clouds judgment, which
results in less effective
outcomes. Problem-solving
ity and,
take over,
ity is lost.
The most
tors are
aware of and in control of
their emotions. They are
aware when others are trying
to make them angry. They
know when they are losing
control; they step back and
ask themselves what they
need to do to regain their
composure. Successful
negotiators are able to detach
from the emotion of the
moment and make decisions
based on reason. Only then
can a successful negotiation
take place.

Negotiating with a
win/lose mentality
With a win/lose approach,
one person is deemed the
winner and the other is the
loser. This mindset makes
the negotiation resemble a
challenge where one person
must emerge as the victor.
With this mentality, compro-
mise is unattainable and the
negotiations halt. Instead of
thinking win/lose, think
Win/win. Leigh Steinberg
defines Win/win as being
I 'Win'
with a
capital 'W'
and you
'win' with a
'w.' It
shows that
can win in a
not every-
one will win
When you adopt a Win/
win mentality, compromise
comes more easily and the
negotiation meets the needs
of all parties.
Getting angry
without a purpose
Too often attorneys jump
into a negotiation with a bad
attitude. They mistakenly
believe that flying into a rage
is the best way to succeed at a
negotiation. But think about

this: How do you respond
when someone yells at you or
begins to escalate an argu-
ment? Do you let the other
person win, or do you
want to fight back? Instead
of participating in the
escalation, throw the other
party a curve and remain
silent. This may seem
simple, but in practice it is
very difficult. The first step
is to realize that not every
statement from the other
party requires a response.
When your opponent sees
that you will not partake in
that kind of discussion, he
or she will often calm down
and begin to act with reason.
Failing to prepare
Before you begin any nego-
tiation, you must know what
your ultimate goal is. On
which points can you
compromise? On which
points will you not budge?
Which points are in the best
interest of your client?
Whatever your objective, you
need to fine-tune it with the
client before you enter the
negotiation. Also important
is to know your walk-away
alternatives. How far are you
willing to go before you walk
away from the entire process?
The more prepared you are
for the negotiation and the
more possible outcomes you
have in mind, the better your  .
chances of leaving with a
positive solution.

x W~/I1 NE 2002                                         01110 LAWYER

01-110 LAW YE R

aI  N,NY/JI7NE  2002

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