I ran across a good article about negotiating tips. While not specific to the legal profession, these ideas are useful in many cases. Every case in North Carolina where one side sues another, there exist times for negotiation. This can be informal between attorneys in addition to a formal mediation.
If you are participating in the settlement of your case (and you should), you should keep these tips in mind, particularly #5 which warns against reacting emotionally instead of logically. Your lawyer should represent you passionately and believe in your case, but that passion can sometimes slide into anger and offense. Some lawyers will react this way simply to impress the client who can then report to his family and friends how “aggressive” his lawyer was. The problem is that you don’t win a negotiation or trial by firing brilliant insults at the other attorney or the other party. Usually the opposite is true. I’ve settled cases for a defendant at a lower price than I was willing to give and hours after a negotiation should have ended, but the plaintiff was happy because they saw their lawyer yell at me for 3 hours. My client was happy because I saved them money and a trial. If the plaintiff had behaved a little more reasonably, they might have gotten more money and they certainly would have spent far less time in a lawyer’s office.
-Bradley A. Coxe is a practicing attorney in Wilmington, NC who practices in Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Contract and Real Estate disputes, and all forms of Civil Litigation. Please contact him at (910) 772-1678.