Think Creatively about Settlement Options

462604973In the vast majority of cases, there are more options for settlement than meet the eye. Having more options on the table increases the likelihood of finding one that is mutually acceptable. This is your chance to get creative! Continue reading

Do You Know Which ADR Process to Pick?

168712376With the vast majority of civil cases settling rather than going to trial, California attorneys need to be familiar with the various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. Once you understand the big picture of the ADR options available, you need to hone in on the right one for your case.

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Preventive Justice

76800459Hit song of the summer, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, is drumming up controversy as it’s claimed to infringe on a couple of Marvin Gaye songs. Not waiting to be sued, Thicke’s attorneys proactively filed a declaratory relief action. This is a great strategy to keep in mind: in some situations it’s best to seek preventive justice. Continue reading

10 Steps to Successful Mediation

10steps_121366302In California, fewer than 5% of civil cases filed actually go to trial. Some actions are dismissed or terminated on motion, but most cases settle. Given this reality, you need to be ready for a successful mediation. Continue reading

When Settlement Negotiations Hit a Wall

bumper_91824048Settlement negotiations rarely proceed in a smooth forward motion; in fact, most feel more like a ride in a bumper car with a jerky stop and start motion. A good negotiator learns to move past the inevitable impasses. Continue reading

3 Problem-Solving Approaches to Negotiation

Negotiations rarely proceed as smoothly or swiftly as we first envision. This is partially because settling a case requires finding a result that satisfies both parties, yet litigators are trained to be zealous advocates for their clients and their clients alone. Instead of thinking how much you can get for your client relative to how much your counterpart can get for his or her own, try thinking in terms of how much more you could both get for your clients relative to litigating in court.

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Effective Questioning

When we think of attorneys and questions, images of courtroom witness examinations and jailhouse interviews come to mind. But for most attorneys, questions are more often asked during pre-litigation investigation, discovery, and settlement negotiations — all situations in which the attorney needs to gather information. To get the answers you want and need, you have to ask the right questions. Continue reading

How to Avoid Six E-mail Mistakes Commonly Made by Negotiators

The following is from guest blogger Helen Leah Conroy, an Internet and commercial transaction lawyer who since 2001 has built a successful small firm practice.

Everyone uses e-mail in business and legal negotiations these days. What makes e-mail so convenient, however, also makes it dangerous. Here are six lessons you don’t want to learn the hard way.

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Fraud Has No Place in Negotiations

The “legal ethics of negotiation” can be a difficult topic. Certain issues are plain enough: An attorney cannot knowingly commit, counsel, or assist fraudulent conduct. The tougher issue is defining what counts as fraud. Continue reading

5 Tips for Kicking Off a Successful Negotiation

Whether it happens informally on the telephone or in a more formal face-to-face meeting, the beginning of a negotiation can be critical to its success. First words and impressions are lasting; if you get off to the wrong start, it can erode trust, dampen optimism about the outlook for settlement, and increase the probability of deadlock. Continue reading