Here at JCL, we strive to understand our client’s needs and provide the best overall solution. We encourage mediation and compromise. If the parties to a dispute can reach a compromise and avoid the costs, time, and stress of having to go to court, this is always the best result. All parties should feel comfortable with the outcome however, compromise is based on give and take.
Settlement negotiations can be daunting and overwhelming. Here are some practical tips for effective settlement negotiations.
Before entering into settlement negotiations:
- Have an understanding of the outcome you or your client are hoping to accomplish. What is the most optimistic result that realistically could be achieved? Also importantly, what is your “bottom line”. Identifying these two positions will give you a direction and focus and will enable you to negotiate towards a specific goal;
- Be prepared. Know your case;
- Take into consideration the interests and goals of the other party and what outcome they are trying to achieve. This will assist in negotiating a resolution.
During settlement negotiations:
- Do not get personal. Focus on resolving the problem;
- Ask questions and understand the other party’s position. There may be valid reasons limiting the other side’s ability to reach an agreement. There may be other issues hindering a resolution which once known, can be discussed and resolved;
- Explore alternatives to a monetary only resolution;
- Do not leave the room until the agreement is recorded in writing. You will likely not have enough time to prepare a settlement agreement, but have the parties sign a document that sets out the general terms that have been agreed.
Wiebke Herrmann is a Director at James Conomos Lawyers and has extensive experience navigating clients through settlement negotiations. If you or your business needs assistance navigating a legal dispute, please do not hesitate to contact her.
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