8 Negotiation Strategies That Lawyers Love and So Can You

Law and negotiation are inseparable, even people with a minimal understanding of the profession will tell you that. So who could give you better advice on negotiation strategies than lawyers?

Whether you are applying for a promotion or trying to pitch a project, these negotiation strategies are a way to go. Here is are some simple but handy tips used and loved by lawyers.

Who is your opponent?

Before stepping into a negotiation, lawyers try to understand their opponents inside out. Ask yourself how does your opponent behave? Are they organized or chaotic with their arguments? Is their manner of speaking calm or aggressive? The moment you pin that down for yourself, your own approach will start to develop.

Do you think in context?

Everything you do and plan to do is a part of a bigger picture. In other words, when you try to negotiate a raise, you should be well aware of how much other professionals in the industry make. You can’t just make up random numbers just because you want to. Negotiation strategies always require thorough preparation.

What are your priorities?

Before heading to negotiation you should be clear with yourself about what you want and what you absolutely don’t. Lawyers are famous for not compromising. It doesn’t mean you should always bring the negotiation to a dead end. But what lawyers certainly don’t do is they never give up easily. So if your needs aren’t met, decide at which point you can compromise and at which point you will walk away.

Did you do your background check?

Understanding your opponent is not only about their current approach but also about deals they had in the past. If you can find any information about that, good for you. This will help you determine their change in negotiation strategies and just give a better understanding of where they are heading and what your role is in their plans.

Do you have something in common?

Finding points that you both agree on is one of the most crucial negotiation strategies. Actually, that’s the best place to start. Because if you start off at a point that is beneficial to both parties, that’s a negotiation that is less likely to fail. It establishes understanding, sets goals and just isn’t hostile. By eliminating potential points of dispute you will just end up on a safer ground.

Are you trying too hard?

Never talk too much. You might think that conveys confidence but pushing too hard can actually look like a sign of desperation to your opponent. Try to keep listening and talking on an equal level.

Are you flexible enough?

Compromising on minor issues but making those look big is a strategy to go. Creating a situation when your opponent thinks they win but they actually lose, is the top prize all of the mentioned negotiation strategies can reward you with.

Do you know how to close the deal?

You can put all your energy into the negotiation strategies above but can spoil it all in the end. That’s why having an exit strategy is a must. Things not to forget when closing a deal include:

  • your priorities
  • a clear bottom line
  • a clear connection with terms made in the beginning of the deal

Never dismiss checking twice if all terms agreed during the negotiation are met in the end. For that purpose obtaining a written confirmation of the agreement is a must.

Negotiation is a crucial part of every business, not just law. But to handle your negotiation strategies like a pro you need to get into a lawyer’s mindset. That is not an easy task because lawyers are not born with a knack for impressive negotiation strategies. As in any profession, skills require time and practice and you cannot master them in a day or two. But what you can do is to learn the basics.


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