Corporate Clients to Legal Counsel: Bring Us Back in from the Cold
We were in hour ten of a multi-party mediation convened to settle a million dollar copyright dispute among three Los Angeles garmentos. Counsel for the target defendant was demonstrating righteous indignation for my benefit. He was packing his trial bag, fuming about the other parties’ bad faith and the waste of time the mediation had been.
I don’t highly recommend this negotiation tactic but I see it a lot.
“We’re leaving,” counsel shouted, gesturing that his client should follow.
I too have a temper. I don’t know a litigator who doesn’t. But I tuck it down deep when I’m playing the role of “neutral.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I responded in the low, slow, patient tone of voice you use with over-excited children and frightened animals.
“And why do you think that?” he snarled.
“Because the first thing your client said to me was that failure here today was not an option. He’s broke. He’s nearing retirement. He’s beaten. He can’t sleep at night. He needs me to get the best deal possible and then he desperately needs to take a vacation.”
The client, who hadn’t moved a muscle since this exchange began heaved an audible sigh of relief and said to me “thank you so much. I’ve been saying that for two years and no one has ever acknowledged it before.”
This is where legally astute resolution of litigation by executives and managers comes in.
Continue reading here