Civil Negotiation and Mediation by Nancy Hudgins
As a practicing lawyer, when I tried to explain the vagaries of jury trials to clients, I told them a story about the negotiation class I took at U.Va. law school in the 1970’s. This was a “how-to” class in negotiation taught by Charles B. Craver, who is now at The George Washington University School of Law.
Professor Craver set up a series of negotiations: contract, personal injury, labor, etc., for us to compete in. Regardless of the “side” we represented, points were given based on the result of your negotiated settlement as compared to the settlements your classmates achieved. Our grades were based partially on the number of points we accumulated. Needless to say, we were a bunch of highly competitive law students, and each one of us tried to out-negotiate our peers.
But there was a catch. If we bargained too hard and failed to reach an agreement, we took out a die (singular of dice) and rolled it. Each number on the die had a pre-assigned settlement value, so there were six predetermined outcomes. Some were a little better than the last offer left on the table. Most were worse.
That mental picture has stuck with me for more than thirty years. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the other side that meets at least some of your client’s needs and interests, you go to trial and roll the dice.
Professor Craver’s books on negotiation are well worth the read: his most recent treatise, Effective Legal Negotiation and Settlement, and, The Intelligent Negotiator, a more accessible, non-treatise book. His was one of my most enjoyable classes in law school. Thanks, Charlie!
From the Real Divorce Mediation Blog of Nancy Hudgins and Debra Synovec Fill your stocking by doing tax planning! Yes, tax planning may give divorcing couples more holiday dollars! Holidays...By Debra Synovec, Nancy Hudgins
From the Mediation Matters Blog of Steve Mehta. Many people have wondered about how juries react to the pain of other people that they are judging. Well new research has...By Steve Mehta
Conflict Management Coaching Blog by Cinnie Noble“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” ~Albert Einstein It’s not always apparent to the leaders...By Cinnie Noble