The Negotiation Table

My least favorite thing as an attorney is going to mediation.  I know people who love it, the gamesmanship, how to send the right signals, and the strategy. But I hate it.  HATE it.  My husband doesn’t like that I use that word and he thinks (correctly) that I tend to make overgeneralized statements about my likes and dislikes.  But I think I can say with full authority that I am not over exaggerating my hatred for this process.

I don’t like talking about money in general, so dealing back and forth trying to find how high my client is willing to go verses the absolute bottom the other side is willing to take is just excruciating.  I’d rather just say, “here’s my authority, take it or leave it.”

When I was a prosecutor, I used to negotiate sentencing ranges, and that process didn’t bother me at all.  Jail time, probation, community service, registration as a sex offender – as long as the sentence was in the community’s best interest and supported by the facts of the case, then it wasn’t a problem.  Plus, I had all of the decision making power.  I didn’t have to rely on someone else to determine what was a reasonable resolution to each case.

Now, my job is all about money and risk.  “Mr. Jones, I’ll pay you $37,500 not to take this to trial and spend three days crying over how you sprained your ankle and cannot dance the tango like you used to.”  Something about that screams “who cares” to me.

I have nothing poignant to say on this matter, I’m just more venting.  There are many things about my job that I don’t like, and this happens to be close to the top of the list.  Billable hours – now that’s a whole separate post.



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