From corporate mergers and acquisitions to commercial insurance dispute litigation, having a lawyer on your side as a small business owner is essential. However, the negotiation process can be challenging due to a number of complexities. Fortunately, there are useful tips that you can follow when negotiating with a lawyer for maximum benefits.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Before you start negotiations, be sure to define your goals clearly and concisely. This is how you’ll avoid misunderstandings and unintended outcomes during the negotiation process.
For example, say you want to hire a lawyer to mediate a business dispute. Be clear about the exact outcome that you expect from the negotiation process. Are you looking to settle out of court or take the matter to trial? Or say you’re discussing fees; you want to know exactly how much you are willing to pay and whether or not you prefer hourly rates, a flat fee, or a contingency fee.
During a negotiation, you want to be able to walk away if the other party is not meeting your expectations. Therefore, it is important to have options in case you cannot reach an agreement with one lawyer.
Research different lawyers that specialize in the area of law relevant to your case before negotiations even start. You can either ask for referrals from people you trust or use online resources to look for lawyers with experience in the legal field that interests you. Then make a list in order of priority of the lawyers or firms you would consider hiring.
Consider Setting a Timeline
Negotiations have been known to last for months, if not years. To decrease the chances of this happening, consider setting a timeline for the negotiation so that progress can be tracked.
To structure the timeline, start by setting a deadline for when the negotiation should conclude. Then set deadlines in between milestones and tasks that need to be accomplished. For example, set a deadline for when a lawyer should deliver their initial proposal and then deadlines for when relevant parties should respond to that proposal.
It is important to keep records of all the progress made during the negotiation process as this is how you’ll not only remember what has already been discussed but also make sure that both parties are clear on their obligations and can be held accountable if need be.
This can be done by saving emails, taking minutes at meetings or recording phone calls, or even using a shared spreadsheet to record the progress made and make any updates as negotiations move forward.
Negotiating with lawyers is an important part of running a small business, but it can be challenging due to the complexity of such matters. By following these tips, you can ensure success when negotiating with a lawyer for your business. Remember to be clear about your goals, have options, consider setting a timeline and keep records throughout the process.