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Posted February 21, 2012
The third book in Morten Lund's "Jagged Rocks of Wisdom" series, entitled "Negotiation: Mastering the Art of the Deal", is his finest book yet. The two prior books were focused on assisting new lawyers with their transition from law student to practicing attorney, and did so in fine fashion. The Art of the Deal differs in that while it's directed towards new attorneys wishing to learn how to negotiate in the legal world, this book is a broad-based, practical, and systematic approach to negotiating deals that extends far beyond the practice of law. True, this book will absolutely help new lawyers figure out the players and plays involved in the negotiation of deals in which they are involved as counsel, but the skills learned translate into almost any imaginable situation in which cool-headed, intelligent and powerful negotiation skills are needed.
In my experience, many new attorneys approach negotiation in two ways. The first is utterly ineffective; too-easily bowing to pressure, opposing counsel's demands, and seeing themselves as the junior party and thus not an equal with the experienced opposite team, hoping that the opposition will go easy in return. The second is similarly ineffective; approaching the negotiation with the attitude that it's an argument or battle to be won at all costs, that bullying and threats work, and that a successful outcome requires that the opposing side walks away beaten down and crushed, having given in to every single demand, reasonable or not. In reality, and as Lund guides the reader through in The Art of the Deal, the successful negotiation is neither of the above, nor really any combination of the above. The successful negotiator is confident, prepared, methodical, and although he or she may at times act as if angry, argumentative, friendly, adamant or appeasing, it is only an outward appearance, the true negotiator remaining totally in control internally and using specific behavior, language, tools and tactics to get what he or she wants in an ordered, predictable manner by following certain rules. Successful negotiation is not luck, not innate, but rather a craft that can be learned and, through practice, matured and improved. The Art of the Deal guides the reader through the rules, skills, steps and tactics involved in a successful negotiation, and doesn't subscribe to the idea that some people are by nature cut out for negotiation while others aren't. So if you're concerned that you're not the type of person who is able to negotiate well (i.e. a born arguer or type-A personality), suspend judgment of your own abilities until you've read this book: I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the confidence level Lund inspires in his readers.
The new lawyer could do no better than buying this book, along with the two prior books in this series, for reading during the weeks between taking the bar exam and receiving notice that he or she has passed and will soon be licensed to practice law (and thus be expected, by clients and supervising attorneys, to know the material contained in these books). This book is highly recommended, in particular, as a practical accompaniment to any law school course involving the development of negotiation skills, or as reading for any law student prior to working with clients as part of a law school clinical course.
Posted November 10, 2011
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