When 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.
With the large dollar amounts, aggressive parties, and difficult time constraints involved, office leases are some of the toughest contracts to negotiate. Chances for a successful negotiation are best if the attorneys maintain consistent, well-reasoned positions that readily balance their clients’ goals and the need for compromise. On the other hand, a successful agreement is unlikely if the attorneys adopt stubborn or disingenuous stances.
Here are four deal-breaking positions to avoid when negotiating an office lease:
When 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.
Skilled negotiators disagree on whether it’s better to make the first offer or demand, or to let the other side go first. Although the correct approach will likely vary from case to case, in the context of settling litigation, it’s often advisable to have the other side open. But there are times to take the first plunge.
Yes, drafting a contract takes a lot of work. But it generally takes less time to draft a contract document that advances your client’s interests than it does to modify another party’s document to achieve that result. So whenever you have the opportunity to be the drafter, take it—and follow these four steps to drafting a contract to your client’s benefit.