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Applying Sales Strategies to Legal Negotiations

The five P’s of Successful Legal Negotiations

legal negotiationThe Huron Valley Networking group recently discussed an article about five tenets of good sales negotiations called, “The five P’s of good negotiation” adapted from “Negotiating with Backbone” by Reed Holden. It contained positive advice for negotiating business deals. The tips apply in legal negotiations too.


As with a sales call, a legal case depends on knowing what each side has, wants and (more importantly) needs. Successful lawyers design achievable settlements based on thorough discovery. “I never skimp on research,” says successful Washtenaw County Family Lawyer Kathryn Wayne-Spindler. And for anyone who has seen Kathryn Wayne-Spindler enter the courtroom with a stack of professionally-constructed evidence binders there is no doubt she does her homework. Kathryn prides herself on being prepared and it serves her clients well.

Whether a client is hoping to win big in the courtroom or settle big in the hallway, there is nothing like thorough, overwhelming research. Those evidence binders speak volumes (pun intended). Comprehensive discovery may result in a judgment in the client’s favor or encourage the opposition to acquiesce a favorable settlement in the face of mountains of evidence against them.


A salesman knows that closing the deal involves compromise on both sides. This is true with legal cases as well. An attorney that promises the world to a client may disappoint. A good lawyer will sit down with a client and discuss the realities of the case. Lawyers and clients may work together to make a list of “wants” vs “needs.” That way, when the negotiation gets going, the lawyer can utilize the “wants” as bargaining chips to make sure the “needs” are satisfied.

The article, “The five P’s of good negotiation” by Reed Holden in reads, “The nice-to-haves may be given up for obtaining the must-haves.”


Legal negotiations and business deals often have the extended timeframe in common. Many contentious divorces may last for years. The key to outlasting the opposition in these cases is the ability to keep the long-goal in mind. Emotionally-motivated impulsivity or short-term gains may be tempting, but satisfying judgments are won when lawyer and client are together in staying the course.


This one is obvious in the instance of legal negotiations. We’ve all heard on television, the courtroom is no place for hearsay, speculation or emotional rhetoric. Facts win cases. And facts come to the surface through competent research. A good lawyer anticipates what the opposition would be likely to use and finds facts to refute damaging claims.


This one sums up many of the other points. The article, “The five P’s of good negotiation” reads, “Promote long-term benefits. Point out that there can be an ongoing relationship with advantages for both sides.” This is especially true with custody or visitation cases. Rare is the case that results in sole legal and physical custody for any one party. Many clients have a long road of co-parenting ahead of them. Knowing this in advance may encourage the to opposing parties to be reasonable for the sake of the children’s health, safety and emotional well-being. A good lawyer will promote reasonable expectations and encourage the parties to negotiate cooperatively and respectfully for the children’s best interests.

The attorneys of the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates are well-aware of the five P’s and utilize these strategies to win the best outcomes for their clients. For help with a family law, divorce, custody or probate case, contact the law firm at 248-676-1000. The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates handle cases throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee and Livingston Counties. They help clients in Milford; Highland; Hartland; White Lake; Waterford; Walled Lake; Commerce; Wixom; Howell; South Lyon; New Hudson; Grand Blanc; Holly and many more local communities.

Written and Posted by Christine Donlon Long, Communications’ Specialist for Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates