This is the third in a planned series of four Jagged Rocks of Wisdom guidebooks for new attorneys. The first book, Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney, focused on issues of professional deportment and training. The second book, Jagged Rocks of WisdomThe Memo: Mastering the Legal Memorandum, focused on preparing the new law associate in the crucial skills of legal research and writing. This book breaks the process of a central lawyer skillnegotiationinto 21 Rules. Lund offers a structured framework for negotiation, and explains in concrete steps how to achieve a desired result. Lund explains and applies these Rules with dozens of real-life anecdotes and "Pro Tips" for immediate use.
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About the Author
Morten Lund is a partner in the Energy and Telecommunications group of Stoel Rives LLP, where his practice focuses on the development and finance of renewable energy projects. Previously, Lund was a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLP.
Born in Oslo, Norway, Lund is a graduate of Yale Law School.
Read an Excerpt
I am a professional negotiator.
As an attorney I perform many tasks, but one of the most important roles I play is that of a negotiator. This role has several aspects and variations: Sometimes I negotiate in person, sometimes on paper, while other times I advise clients on their negotiations without my direct participation. Sometimes I simply draft the documents preceding or resulting from the direct negotiations. Regardless of the mechanics, a defining feature of my professional existence is negotiation. One way or another, I help my clients achieve their goalsif necessary at the expense of others.
If you are a non-attorney reader who just realized that you are reading a book for lawyers, fear not: Most, if not all, of this book is just as applicable to non-lawyer negotiators. As mentioned, in many ways it’s even more important to get these aspects right without the professional firepower and guidance provided by a lawyer. While lawyers are negotiators as part of their professional role, so too are professionals in business, public service, non-profitseverywhere. Negotiation is a part of life. The question is not whether one is a negotiator. The question is whether one is a good negotiatoror, more specifically, a whether one is a good negotiator on purpose.
We might also think of being a good negotiator by design, meaning that you craft a plan and take specific steps toward that plan. To this end I offer a number of specific suggestions for making your approach to negotiation more deliberate. It may appear that some of the suggestions are extremeand indeed they are extreme, at least for some circumstances. If you fully and literally applied every recommendation in the book to every telephone call, you would spend weeks preparing for every six-minute exchange, and you would spend as much mental effort planning social chit-chat as planning your actual deal. That may be appropriate for some telephone calls, but most of the time this approach would render you useless. Instead, it is my hope that implementation of my Rules will become second nature, so that little extra time is needed.
It would be bizarre (and probably impossible) to apply every strategy and tactic in full to every negotiation. You must decide at each step what will work and what will not. No two situations are the same, and you must make the callbut make the call, and do so with deliberate intent.
I have not studied negotiation in a formal setting. I learned the hard way: watching and imitating; trial and error. This is the way most negotiators learn the trade. Some may have attended a seminar or workshop, some might even have taken a negotiation course in school, but overwhelmingly we learn by doing. While this obviously works, it is also wasteful. Sink or swim is wasteful. If we want our new negotiators to negotiate well we ought to tell you how, not just wait for you to figure it outor not.
This book is an effort to pass on my own hard-earned learning, accumulated during hundreds of major negotiations (and countless minor ones) over the course of many years. This book is not a scholarly treatiseit is a guidebook based on personal experience. Negotiation is at its core two (or more) people exchanging ideas and trying to come to agreement on something of some importance to them. Ultimately negotiations are social interactions. As a result, a deep understanding of how to interact with others is the key to being a good negotiator, and indeed that is the central theme of this book.
As in the two prior Jagged Rocks of Wisdom books, there are anecdotes scattered throughout this book for your information and amusement. These anecdotes describe actual events. While details may have been changed to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent (not to mention client confidences), each story happened more or less exactly as described. You should read these with great care, for they are living proof that even the seemingly obvious is frequently missed. An important caveat, however: Some anecdotes were selected in part for their colorful and dramatic exchanges. Do not extrapolate from this that you should always be confrontational or rude. Apply the Rule, not the anecdote.
In addition to the anecdotes you will find occasional “Pro Tips”suggestions for specific techniques to try, or observations for contemplation. You will find some helpful and others goofy. Do not let the Pro Tips distract you from the underlying principles. Apply the Rule, not the Pro Tip.
The terminology I use is my ownI suspect you will face blank stares (at best) if you talk to your colleagues or professors about “un-goals” or “doing the Salami.” The terms are partly my own invention for writing convenience, and partly slang I have come across over the years. Use or modify them as you will.
Which leads to a caution on the term “opponent.” I use “opponent” throughout this book to describe the “other side” in the negotiation. Quite often, however, your opponent is not an adversary in any real-life sense. To the contrary, your opponents will frequently be your clients’ business partners, and negotiations can be very friendly indeed. “Opponent” need not mean “hostile.”
Everything described in this book works both ways. Don’t commit errors; spot them in others. Use the strategies; defend against those same strategies. Some of this reciprocal bilateralism is described for certain Rules, but mostly it is left to you to extrapolate and apply. Just imagine that your opponent has also read this book, and you are being evaluated even as you are evaluating her. As the first two Rules illustrate, you must consider everything from both sidesincluding the Rules themselves.
Many of the Rules in this book will at times appear to conflict with other Rules, and the logic of a Rule might even seem internally inconsistent. This is the nature of reality, and it is your job to find the best way to reconcile those differences and find the true pathyour true path.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a fiercely practical guidebook for anyone who fancies that they may want to give life in the “real world” a try. The book is intended to point new professionals in the right direction in regard to deal-making tactics. The negotiation tools provided can be used to orchestrate a high-level corporate merger, in arbitrating a law suit or purchasing your first home. The Rules presented in this book are virtually universal, and can find application in just about every business interaction in any professional field.
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.