Herb Cohen, the author of ‘You can Negotiate Anything’ and once labelled ‘the world’s best negotiator’ tells a story about negotiating the purchase of his own house. Apparently, his family was so intent on acquiring this particular home that he feared being divorced and having his children never speak to him again if the deal did not close. As Herb told the story, since walking away from the deal was not an option, he was unable to negotiate even a nickel off the purchase price.
Once again, since I am all about giving back and public service, I offer these translations from legal talk (“LT”) to plain English (“PE”) to help lawyers communicate effectively with opposing counsel. I hope that you find them helpful.
Quite some time ago in Toronto, there was a major retail landlord who had some very desirable space in the downtown core past which walked thousands and thousands of commuters on their way to and from the subway every working day. The space was leased to a large number of small boutique tenants who were quite delighted to be allowed to locate their business there.
Some time ago there was a fellow who I will call Jack. Jack had invented a product and had found a large company to be his partner and finance the start-up of a business to manufacture the product. The business did not do well. The partnership did worse. The day came when a deal had to be struck for the partnership to be dissolved.
Back quite a few years ago, I was out for lunch with one of my associates who for today will be called “Samantha”. We were having a quick meal at one of those sandwich places where you line up at the counter and order your meal and then take it to a table, gobble it down for 15 minutes and get back to work as quickly as possible so that you do not waste too many billable hours.
When negotiating an agreement, clients are often happy to hear that the other side’s lawyer is going to do the drafting. They assume that their lawyer will spend less time reviewing an agreement than he or she would have spent drafting the agreement in the first place, and that allowing the other side’s lawyer to draft the agreement will be cheaper for them. Lawyers who are overwhelmed with work, or who are inexperienced, or who are lazy, or who are just not that bright, will readily agree with this approach.