Negotiating a settlement out-of-court can not only save both parties time and money, but it can free up the court system for other cases that cannot possibly be solved out-of-court. Still, this can be a lengthy process in and of itself, which is why you should always retain a trusted business attorney to assist in your settlement. Though the weeks of litigation can be avoided, several days will still be needed to reach an agreement or exhaust all possibilities for settlement.
Understand the Strengths and Weaknesses of Both Cases
The key to reaching an out-of-court agreement to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both your own position and of your opposition. No effective negotiations can begin without first understanding the landscape of the arguments on both sides.
Then you can begin to evaluate what and how much you’d be willing to compromise before the negotiation process ever begins. Think through what’s most important and decide what your bottom line – what you will not be willing to budge on. Factor into this number the added costs of future litigation. At some point, you’ll want to know what you’re willing to sacrifice to avoid that and what you are not.
In addition, following a controlled and dedicated settlement process can help all parties reach an amicable solution.
Present a Written Statement of Offer
A great way to save time and get a strong starting point is have an initial meeting where the ground rules of the settlement process are agreed among all parties and their counsel and to agree to written statement that sets forth the agreed process and goals. This initial step can provide a basis for further discussions and be referred to when talks may become more stressful during the heat of the negotiation process.
In addition, the presence of an objective and legally qualified third party can help make a finding common ground easier for all involved.
Keep Your Focus on the Big Picture
It’s a good idea to keep your eye on the prize so to speak so that you don’t get bogged down in details that can ultimately derail your negotiation. Both sides may have an interest in avoiding the time, cost, and public scrutiny of a public airing of grievances, publicity and an open trial.
Remaining professional when emotions are high during a negotiation can be difficult. But sticking with an agreed process and relying on counsel to assist you in your interest-based negotiation will help keep things on track and minimize the risk of the kind of break down that leads to a need for litigation. And, certainly, the results of the settlement discussions should be committed to a written document signed by both parties.
A business attorney can help you negotiate a settlement using many tools available to the attorney, including strong negotiation skills. But there are many more things an attorney can do besides just this. If you have any additional questions about settlements, contract disputes, or wish to discuss other related legal issues, call Stephen Rizzieri at 214.434.1017 or fill out the form on our site today.