{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Negotiating a settlement. I’m at $10k, opposing counsel is at $20k. My client won’t go higher than $15k. OC has come down to 17.5k and says his client won’t budge from that. Do I offer 12.5k so we can hopefully meet in the middle at 15k? Is that how the settlement game is played? Seems dumb we can’t just say let’s meet in the middle now and be done with this. (I’m a first year, first time negotiating a settlement on my own and I don’t want to screw this up!)", "post_id": "615f0cafcc1b5700261a1db5", "reply_count": 10, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Negotiating a settlement. I’m at $10k, opposing counsel is at $20k. My client won’t go higher than $15k. OC has come down to 17.5k and says his client won’t budge from that. Do I offer 12.5k so we can hopefully meet in the middle at 15k? Is that how the settlement game is played? Seems dumb we can’t just say let’s meet in the middle now and be done with this. (I’m a first year, first time negotiating a settlement on my own and I don’t want to screw this up!)

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You can as that’s the most likely compromise, but maybe phrase it as… if I get to $15k can we consider this done? It’s conditional then and not setting a floor that’ll haunt you.

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Update - did this and it worked! Very pleased 😊

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Were these the opening demand and counter offer? Or, did the parties start farther apart? If this is your first round, then there’s room to move your client up some and likewise OC can move their client down. If both sides are $2,500.00 away from their “comfort zone”, then that sounds about right. If you don’t feel like haggling, then make a “last and best” offer of $12.5k and get on with it. Make clear to your client and to OC, if the parties don’t settle here, they will be litigating over just $2,500 (which is stupid and a waste that will exceed that dollar figure).

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And this is why I’m done litigating. I just don’t have the patience anymore to do a trial out of principle. If you can settle a case for a truly trivial amount, it drives me nuts not to get it done.

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There are some excellent courses on negotiation put on by the ABA, ACC, etc. Most important thing I’ve found is that you can’t really leverage one end or the other until you have data. What’s the best and worst case $$$ and why? Is this just about $$$ or are parties emotionally invested?

I’d be prepared with “Why was $10k our first offer. Then hop on the phone and have a conversation with OC. Have them justify why you should go up. See what sounds reasonable. Run it by clients. Hopefully save everyone time and energy.

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I should get up to speed on negotiating tools in general. Good points here. I’ve tried calling OC about it as I feel like it would be a better back and forth but he doesn’t answer my calls, only emails

Clients will always “budge” further than OC is claiming. I’d say 12.5 and end up in the middle but you may have to deal with some drama from the other side.

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Are you beyond dispositive motions and gearing up for trial? If so, then your client needs a reality check. Nothing wrong with drawing a line in the sand somewhere. But if summary judgment was not granted, then there are relevant facts in dispute - which means your client could LOSE and be on the hook for lots more than $15k. Still, reasonably speaking, meeting in the middle at $15k should get you to the finish line.

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