Sunday, May 25, 2008


Number 4 of our 10 points deals with: Avoid being cheated or ending up on the short end of the stick.

This tip is straight forward – do your homework. What I mean is, before you enter into any negotiation do some research on your opponent or the person or person (s) that represent their interests. Let me explain …

When lawyers get ready to defend a litigation, one of the first things they do after reading the case file or complaint is research where the opposing attorney went to school, when they graduated and what firm they work for ( this is done via a lawyers state resource known as “The Red Book” ).

Why is this done? Simple, get a leg up on their opponent! Let’s break it down so you will be able to apply it to any venue.

Question: Why does the lawyer care where his opponent went to school?

Answer: All education is not the same, or at least in the eyes of some. Say a lawyer from Harvard is going against a lawyer from a local, small town law school; even though you and I know some of the best people in the industry are from small schools and do laps around Ivy League graduates – they don’t!

So therefore, the Harvard graduate is going to point out where he or she graduated at every juncture, hoping this will psychologically affect their opponent causing them to roll over because they are out of their league- AKA “their out of their league”.

Question: When they graduated?

Answer: Again the opposing attorney wants to know whether he is dealing with a seasoned veteran or someone wet behind the ears. Can you see how important this information can be; remember novices make foolish mistakes.

Question: What firm they work for.

Answer: Once again if their opponent is from a small firm or hang their own shingle, the experienced lawyer, if part of a larger firm asks the opposing counsel over to their firm for the negotiations. Why? The psychological factor – home court advantage, along with the intimidation factor.

I think by this example you can clearly see how you can add this into any situation or industry you are negotiating for or in so you don’t end up on the short end of the stick.

Be well,

James Gage