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Negotiation Skills for Lawyers

How to get the best win/win outcome and explore the skills and strategies to make commercial negotiations as quick and profitable as possible

Negotiation Skills for Lawyers Training Course

A one-day course delivered via two half-day live webinars

This course is a ‘must know’ for;
  • Commercial management
  • Legal personnel
  • Contracts personnel

This course is exceptionally practical. The first half focuses on the main principles of win/win negotiating, and it also incorporates a self-assessment questionnaire to determine everyone’s preferred negotiating style. Day two then consists of a series of practical negotiation case studies which are tailored to the needs and commercial backgrounds of the course delegates. All participants will receive feedback on how they come across during the role plays.

On completion of this course, delegates will:

  • Be able to define win/win negotiation in a commercial context
  • Recognise their preferred negotiating style, and state the pros and cons of all these styles
  • Be able to detect the preferred style of the other side’s lead negotiator, e.g. the lawyer representing the other side
  • Be able to state the four stages of commercial negotiations
  • Be able to formulate a clear negotiation strategy, both with your own client and for meeting the other side and their legal representatives
  • Be able to prepare thoroughly using a perspective-taking approach
  • Use an “if... then…” formula to trade concessions assertively
  • Use open questioning techniques to uncover needs and challenge entrenched positions
  • Recognise body language tells and project confidence through their own body language signals
  • Recognise commonly used tactics in commercial negotiations, and how to deal with them
  • Identify professional conduct issues which may, for example, influence negotiations by lawyers

Day One 

Topic 1: Overview

  • Introduction – how should we define negotiation?
  • Case study – what are the skills and strategies employed by effective negotiators?
  • Planning and preparation – feedback from a study in the USA highlighting the most productive way to prepare in advance
  • Aim: to show the negotiation process from start to finish, and the skills needed to achieve success 

Topic 2: Negotiating styles

  • Self-assessment questionnaire – what sort of negotiator are you?
  • Group discussion – what are the pros and cons of each different negotiating style?
    • How can we flex to accommodate different personality types?
    • How to deal with clients who have a different negotiating style from yours 

Topic 3: Assertive trading

  • Written exercise in redrafting proposals which are not phrased in the most assertive way
  • Group discussion – the “if… then…” formula and how to avoid being exploited by unscrupulous negotiators
  • Aim: to identify ways of coming across as assertive without being aggressive 

Topic 4: Body language

  • Written exercise – what messages are implied from various descriptions of body language?
  • Three-point guidance on how to project assertiveness through your own body language
  • Aim: to make sure that our body language reinforces our verbal and written communications 

Topic 5: Tricks and tactics

  • Group discussion – what tricks and tactics have the course delegates encountered? How did they deal with them?
  • Consideration of a long list of tricks and tactics in the course notes, group discussion on which may or may not be effective
  • Tutor presentation – which tactics might produce professional misconduct issues? This topic is especially relevant to people in legal practice, of course 

Topic 6: Role play

  • Putting it into practice – a brief one-to-one role play to try out some of these negotiating techniques
  • Questions and preparation for Part 2

Day Two 

Day two of the course will focus on one or more practical negotiation case studies. 

Topic 7: Role play case studies

  • The trainer will base case studies around the number of delegates on the course and their practice backgrounds. This may involve one case study to be run as a round table exercise or there may be a series of shorter role plays reflecting people’s different specialisms
  • As appropriate, there can be a mixture of contentious and non-contentious case studies
  • In each case the exercise will involve:
    • Planning best and worst limits for all the tradable issues
    • Deciding on which side should go first
    • Planning the phases of the negotiation
    • Which issues to trade off in return for concessions
    • The strategies and tactics to use during the discussions
    • When to take breaks and how to signal to each other
    • Concluding the deal and summarising the agreement
  • Questions, feedback on the delegates’ performance, action planning

Admitted in 1988, the trainer has many years of experience as a practising solicitor in planning and environmental law. He has worked at the Treasury Solicitors Department and three City Law firms, including Dentons. Since 2006, he has been in business as a trainer and consultant.

The trainer has worked across Europe and Asia to assess and deliver training for a variety of organisations including Baker & Mackenzie, Reed Smith, Addleshaw Goddard, Hogan Lovells, WS Atkins, Cambridge University, & the Civil Service.

The trainer has designed and delivered a range of courses including; Negotiation skills, writing and drafting, presentation skills, project management for lawyers, people management (including appraisals), managing across cultural boundaries, recruitment and interviewing, & equal opportunities.

Negotiating is something that everybody does day-to-day. The focus of this course is, of course, the business world but we all negotiate socially and domestically too. There may be times when a win/lose outcome is inevitable, such as settlement negotiations when the commercial relationship is effectively dead. However, in general transactional negotiations should aim for a win/win outcome where both parties are satisfied with the deal. If one side feels taken advantage of, then the deal probably won’t work well in practice – and they certainly won’t want to do business with the other side again if they can help it.

This course therefore focuses on how to get the best win/win outcome, and explores a number of skills and strategies to makes commercial negotiations as quick and profitable as possible. A lot of time is wasted in meetings by people dancing around the issues, so the idea is to set an agenda and deal effectively with tradable issues in an assertive but constructive way. Commercial negotiations do not have to be pitched battles – they can also take the form of a problem-solving discussion, seeing the win/win outcome as a result of constructive engagement and dialogue.

Commercial negotiations are a serious business, of course, but this course also aims to be interactive and enjoyable.

Number of places:


Per participant
Discounts available for multiple place booking find out more

Have this course presented In-House

  • On a date, time and in a location of your choice
  • Topics expanded or deleted to your bespoke requirements

Have this course pre-recorded

  • Full course recording edited exclusively for your company
  • Files converted to enable housing on your LMS

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