I am conducting settlement negotiations by phone with opposing counsel (Plaintiff) tomorrow, for the first time. OC so far has been cordial and reasonable. I do employment law, if that makes a difference. Other than making it clear that their claims are weak and should settle for our offer (and also we don't have a trial date yet so it could be at least a year before we could even get to trial), what other tips do you all have?

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Hit the weaknesses until you know their number. Use your client as the stopping point (e.g. it'll be hard to convince my client to take/pay X). Unless they asked to negotiate in earnest it's probably just checking what the ballparks are. Don't be afraid to be direct (e.g. do you have a number I can take my client?) Otherwise you both just waste a lot of time.

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If you actually want to negotiate, try to guess their number. Work out the math: x amount in medical expenses (or I guess lost wages or whatever damages) account for attorneys fees at 30 or 40% and whatever costs of experts if any paid by plaintiff. Then make sure your offer allows OC to put some money in his or her client's pocket. End of the day they'll need to sell the client so if you offered only what, for example, the actual medical expenses are (after accounting for inflated bills) you'd be offering an unattractive deal because after attorneys fees and paying meds, plaintiff is left with nothing. So think what plaintiff needs to make him her happy and work in reverse to get to a number that lets everyone walk happy. Not legal advice just practical tips after doing a few mediations. Hopefully wiser people chime in.

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Be sure to know any weaknesses of your client/position prior to going in or you could be caught off guard by OC which could upend your flow during negotiations.

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You need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of your case (every case has those). You also need a demand from the plaintiff (after all, it's the plaintiff's case, not your client's) before you can assess any offer and respond accordingly. Where are you in the litigation? How do you know the case is weak? I hope you are not relyihng on your client's say-so.

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