7 PerspectivesMarch 11, 2010
In a world of alternative fees, law firm convergence, the ACC Value Challenge and more, what does the client really want? Is it lower fees, predictable expenses, more “value” for the company’s legal dollar, or something else? What’s the best way for a law firm to respond? It turns out that clients are eager to share the answers to all these questions — all you have to do is ask.
A few months ago the lawyers at DrinkerBiddle did just that — they asked. The firm invited a few of us with real experience as clients to the firm’s partner retreat to share our perspectives on client service. They got what they asked for.
The Question Outside Counsel Don’t Ask Often Enough
As soon as we began our talk it became clear that I wasn’t the only one who had thought about the law firm/client relationship before we got there. One of my co-panelists, P.H. Glatfelter Company’s GC Thom Jackson, started by sharing a simple question that outside counsel apparently don’t ask him often enough: More…
Add Your PerspectiveMarch 4, 2010
Longtime Settlement Perspectives readers know that I’m a big fan of Chip and Dan Heath. Their first book, Made to Stick, inspired posts back and forth with the authors on why you might not want to send a message in negotiation, and the rest of Made to Stick continues to color my view of message “stickiness” — a term the Heath brothers contributed to today’s communication lexicon.
With advance warning from Mitch Joel, I eagerly awaited my copy of the Heath brothers’ new book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Like Made to Stick, Switch ostensibly has nothing to do with negotiation, but like its predecessor Switch backs into a settlement insight important to all of us.
The Identity Model of Decision Making
As with most concepts, Switch defines the identity model of decision making early on:
In the identity model of decision making, we essentially ask ourselves three questions when we have a decision to make: Who am I? What kind of situation is this? What would someone like me do in this situation? Notice what’s missing: any calculation of costs and benefits.
According to the Heath brothers, “we adopt identities throughout our lives” that More…
2 PerspectivesMarch 1, 2010
When was the last time you were in mediation and the other side just didn’t “get it”? You have what you need to win the case — documents that demonstrate the fraud, confirm the negligence, or whatever — but the other side just won’t go away. You offer a few dollars so you’ll be done by lunch, but she still won’t give in. Why not?
Why won’t the other side capitulate? The answer isn’t in the conference room, and it’s not in the documents. The reason your case won’t settle — at least not just yet — may be at a table far away.
The Smartest Guy at His Table That Night
I have given a lot of thought lately to a cluster of closely related negotiation concepts, each of which ultimately leads to the kitchen table:
Years ago a senior trial lawyer I really admire told me a story about how More…
Add Your PerspectiveJanuary 27, 2010
The mediation had dragged for an entire day, and we hadn’t made much progress. The other side said they couldn’t give any more, and we wouldn’t, either. The mediator’s proposal that followed was the best deal we’d ever get and, frankly, it was the right number. But my client’s COO reacted instantly, calling in a “no” on his way home. Our answer was due to the mediator in in 24 hours.
As I prepared to discuss the mediator’s proposal with our executive team and the COO the next day I realized my client might have painted himself into a corner — after a good night’s sleep I was confident he would want to change his mind, but sometimes it’s not that easy.
Only Two Ways to Get the Case Settled
I debated how to settle the case that day, and there were only two ways to get it done: with my COO or without him. I could gather the facts and work to More…