5 Ways to Mess Up Active Listening

Active listening techniques are often lauded as indispensable in legal negotiations, and for good reason: You’re more likely to reach agreement if you can both understand and demonstrate your understanding to the other side. But there are some common ways that negotiators fail in their efforts to use active listening. Continue reading

The One Thing to Do to Maximize Mediation Success

typing out deposition notice on laptopThe following is a guest blog post by Teddy (Theda) Snyder. Ms. Snyder is based in Los Angeles and conducts civil and workers compensation mediations throughout California.

Careful preparation of a mediation brief is the best way to achieve the optimal settlement result. The exercise forces you to organize your case and create guideposts for the settlement negotiation. Continue reading

4 Tips for Drafting an Effective Settlement Demand Letter

The following is a guest blog post by Anderson Franco, who practices landlord-tenant, personal injury, and general litigation throughout the Bay Area.

Before filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff should always consider whether to try for settlement. If settlement is the goal, then a settlement demand letter becomes a key negotiation tool. A settlement demand letter explains to the opposing party why they should pay money to settle the case immediately rather than litigating through the court system. Continue reading

New Year, New Laws for Civil Litigators

The California legislature has enacted new laws that may affect your litigation practice. Here are some of the key statutory changes you need to know about. Continue reading

Lawyers Must Now Inform Clients about Mediation Confidentiality in Writing

The following is a guest blog post by Teddy (Theda) Snyder. Ms. Snyder is based in Los Angeles and conducts civil and workers compensation mediations throughout California.

Starting January 1, 2019, attorneys must ask clients to acknowledge in writing that they have been fully informed about the rules of mediation confidentiality. SB 954 amends Evidence Code §1122 and adds §1129 (Stats 2018, ch 350). You can create your own form, but you’ll probably use a version of the “safe harbor” form in §1129.

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In Negotiations, Focus on Questions, Not Answers

ThinkstockPhotos-86808570Skilled negotiators focus more on questioning than on answering. Sharpen your negotiation skills with this review of effective questioning techniques and sample helpful questions. Continue reading

Settling Employment Cases: Think Beyond Money

thinkstockphotos-512549722When you’re negotiating settlement of an employment action, you have much more to consider than just “how much money.” There are many nonmonetary remedies that can—either alone or combined with money—bring the parties to agreement. And how money is paid out can also be a good bargaining chip. Continue reading

“I Moved This Much, Now You Move This Much”

negotiate_25114957When arguing over money, negotiators often put pressure on the side that’s conceded less by claiming that it is only “fair” for both sides to concede in roughly equal amounts. “Look how much we came down,” they will say. A variant of this strategy is the proposal to “split the difference” after you’ve negotiated for some time and then reached an impasse. Both tactics are difficult to resist. Here are a couple of considerations that may help you stand your ground. Continue reading

Checklist for Your Next Negotiation

ThinkstockPhotos-459334539Negotiation skills are one of those things that lawyers tend to think they have innately. But actually, negotiations skills are learned and honed over time and practice. As you engage in your next settlement negotiation, use this checklist to be sure you don’t miss an opportunity. Continue reading

Settlement: It’s Not All About Money

ThinkstockPhotos-543045702When it comes to settlement negotiations, money is usually not the entire picture. Parties generally have more than just cash to offer; it’s a question of coming up with the right combination of incentives. Continue reading