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Negotiation skills benefit in-house counsel

This blog uses the word “negotiate” frequently, because it is a skill in-house lawyers commonly called on to exercise (See my post of Sept. 25, 2006: should rarely be the role of lawyers to negotiate most contracts.). Negotiation skills show up mostly with law firms, sometimes with vendors, and occasionally with clients.

Most of the instances written about here arise from the effort to hammer out with external counsel some kind of alternative fee arrangement (See my post of Oct. 15, 2007: negotiate terms with outside counsel; Feb. 10, 2007: do inside lawyers lack negotiating skills vs. outside lawyers; Aug. 26, 2005: understand how law firms operate when you negotiate; July 27, 2007: difficulties negotiating alternatives to hourly rates; Nov. 6, 2007: time constraints on negotiations with counsel; Sept. 28, 2008: two weeks to negotiate a contract after RFP process; and Nov. 30, 2008: negotiate simultaneously with two contenders.).

Some posts refer to negotiations with vendors other than law firms (See my post of July 31, 2006: negotiate national rates; Aug. 20, 2006: how to reach terms with vendors; and April 15, 2009: law departments have more clout with vendors than do law firms.).

Ironically, two posts refer to negotiations between inside lawyers and their own clients (See my post of May 31, 2006: negotiate over bills charged back to clients; and Nov. 13, 2007: negotiate budgets with finance.).

Despite the frequency of negotiations, a scattering of posts give suggestions for how to negotiate or learn to negotiate (See my post of Jan. 23, 2008: psychological reactance and gender stereotypes in negotiation; April 15, 2006: role playing to train better negotiators; May 4, 2007: interactive workshops on negotiation; Nov. 22, 2008: Six Sigma study of contract negotiation process at Becton Dickinson; and Nov. 22, 2008: contract negotiation guidelines.). With firms and vendors, procurement may be more skilled in the subtle arts of negotiation.