Lawyers are not the best negotiators, even though we are always negotiating something. When I get into settlement talks, I am often surprised at how many folks do not ever negotiate. I often use the example of yard sales and tell clients a settlement is like a yard sale, but with bigger numbers. Some clients then tell me they always pay the asking price at a yard sale. Ok…..
The Republicans, the Democrats and the President may not be skilled negotiators either. Since, we are now in Day X of the shutdown. The Republican position will worsen everyday as the shut down more and more affects everyday folks. It is hard to hold to principle when folks are visibly suffering due to one’s principle.
In a settlement once, the opening "offer" from the employer’s lawyer was that they would "only" seek $15,000 in attorney’s fees when they win. That is, they were saying they would seek $15,000 in sanctions when they win. . . . The employer wanted drama, but that sort of bullying negotiation tactic only offended the mediator and indicated I was wasting my time. We left and received a refund on the mediator fee. In the end, I suppose, the employer was right because we did not settle and we ultimately lost in a motion for summary judgment.
But, I learned then that negative offers do not fly very far. The Republican Congress has essentially offered to Pres. Obama that they would not shut down the government if he would agree to negotiate with them about Obamacare. And, now we are in a shut down. The Republican’s negative offer did not fly very far. Bullying tactics do not work well in negotiation. They tend to invite an equal response.