One of the primary tasks you have when negotiating on behalf of your clients is to maintain the perception of and quest for fairness. In most cases, fairness comes down to somewhat objective standards. These can be things like precedent, market value, expert opinion, etc. A key step to reaching an equitable settlement is getting both sides to agree to a reasonable and fair standard. Without this, coming to a settlement becomes far more difficult.
Though the criteria of fairness/objectivity is helpful to all attorneys, including litigators, it is essential for any transactional negotiation where one of your key objectives is to maintain a positive relationship between both parties for the foreseeable future. In such negotiations, standards provide an objective view that tends to depersonalize the process to ensure the relationship remains intact. That can help both sides feel like they weren’t taken advantage of and that the relationship was treated well. In the “olden days” it was said by some that if neither side was happy with the conclusion of an agreement then it must have been a good deal. I think times are changing.
The Power of Fair and Reasonable
When both sides are able to agree to objective standards, it can provide legitimacy for positions and a strong case for fairness. For example, when setting the price of goods in line with the current market, that’s using a standard that lends itself to a fair assessment of value.
The more you are able to focus on agreed standards during a negotiation, the greater likelihood that an agreement that is fair to all parties will be achieved. This can de-escalate issues that might otherwise derail the negotiation. It may also be of benefit to the relationship of the parties and foster the desire to continue to do business with one another again.
For litigators, the critical standards in question are not as many things like market value, but rather jury verdict research, expert opinions, and of course, legal precedent. There are no legal negotiations that cannot be improved by focusing on using “fair” criteria based upon established objective standards.
Though negotiations differ between transaction and litigation, much, like the need for fair criteria, remain the same. If you have anything else, you’d like to know about negotiations or other legal issues to discuss, call Stephen Rizzieri (214.434.1017) or fill out the form on our site today.