Skillful negotiation can reduce conflict & avoid litigation

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When you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit and engaged in litigation, your attorney will always try to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. According to the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation (PON), effective strategies exist to resolve conflicts and avoid or end litigation. “Litigation and negotiation are not mutually exclusive,” writes PON’s Deepak Malhotra. “Both can—and often should—be pursued simultaneously.” He provides examples of some ways for you and your attorney to keep bargaining and negotiation going even after legal action has been initiated.


  1. Keep talking. When lines of communication between you and the defendant are kept open, you ensure that your attorney will always be able to discuss alternatives for resolving the case.


  1. As the old saying goes, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to win?” Some people feel so convinced of their moral rightness that they view negotiating as a battle to win— but the goal of a negotiation is always “win-win.” Your attorney may advise you to be a little more flexible in your demands to make it easier to reach an agreed-upon settlement. Sometimes, your true interests lie in giving a little to resolve the remaining issues, obtaining a reasonable settlement, and freeing yourself to get on with your life.


  1. Be open to your attorney’s advice. You will always have the ultimate power to agree or disagree with a proposed settlement. Your attorney’s job is to advocate for you, not to be your decision maker. You may, however, be engaged in your first go-round with a legal dispute. Your attorney has the experience and the perspective, after negotiating many settlements in the past, to advise you now as to what is the best resolution of an issue that may be holding up agreement.


  1. As another PON scholar, Katie Shonk, wrote, “Listen to learn. Virtually all of us can benefit from spending more time listening and less time talking in our negotiations.” Your attorney may advise you that one useful strategy in trying to reach agreement in negotiations is to hear and acknowledge your opponent’s points, and understand their point of view. You may not agree with the defendant, but when you listen and understand, you are more likely to engage your opponent in seeking alternative solutions.


Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in litigation and settlements, with a focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at, or by calling (336) 882-2000.

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