Several days ago, a Quora question and answer caught may attention. The question asked about things some lawyers do that break, rather than make, deals. I was intrigued by the response “[s]ending over very aggressive opening terms as a negotiating ploy”.
That is a situation I have faced only rarely – most of the time, my clients’ counterparties are pretty reasonable. When excessively unreasonable terms do appear, however, there is a simple response: I refuse to negotiate. Instead, I reply along the line of the following:
Unfortunately, the proposed terms are so one-sided and unreasonable that they are not a suitable starting point for negotiations. If you would like to provide an agreement that is more appropriately balanced, my client will be pleased to consider it.
So far, this approach has had the desired effect every time: The other side provided a more reasonable starting point, and the parties ultimately reached agreement.
Looking back, I see that this post’s message is a corollary of the post I wrote two days ago (Negotiating Successfully: The #1 Thing You Need to Know): If you want to negotiate successfully, you have to be willing to walk away.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
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