Tag Archives: transaction

Why use an attorney in the negotiation process?

It is important to analyze what is happening during a business transaction at the negotiation table. 1. People are bartering about price for a service. 2. People are attempting to “sell” or “upsell” a particular service. and lastly 3. They are trying to close the deal.

Where does an attorney fit in?

When a good attorney is at the table, the attorney is going to attempt to define the service provided as best as possible. In an IT world, we are going for concrete specifications, whether that is passed on packet loss, satisfactory performance, or goods manufactured to specific details. This is going to help in bartering for the price. Maybe the other party is worried that the price is too high and won't get the performance while paying large fees. If the attorney were there, they could contribute by adding in clauses to the deal that would allocate recourse if the contract was not performed up to specification. In defining those specifications and working out the recourses at the negotiation table, not only with the service provider be happier in knowing exactly what they are committing to, and striving to meet that performance goal, the other party is going to feel comfortable in knowing that he hasn't just thrown a large amount of money out the window without a guarantee of product.

If you have a business minded attorney that knows your product and knows your business, the attorney should be able to sell and upsell your product as good, if not better than your sales team. After all, Attorney's are trained in the art of persuasion. Some shine in the courtroom, others shine at the negotiation table, choose the right attorney for the right job.

Lastly, they can help close the deal. That is one thing that attorneys are generally very good at. After all, they got their clients to sign on the dotted line. I would assume they can add that incentive to help close your deal as well.

In the end, get your attorney in there early. Define the objectives, sell the service, and close the deal. After all, business is supposed to be fun, isn't it?


Client Relationships

The first major benefit that I have noticed as a practicing attorney is the difference in relationships that I have with my clients. They aren't afraid to come and ask questions, and I am not worried about giving them answers. As I have been attending continuing legal education courses, all I come away with is “Make sure they sign a retainer agreement and give you a retainer before you do anything!” While yes, that is true, in a flat rate fee system, that is much more expected and more normal.

No longer is the client unaware of what they are being charged, and more likely than not, they plan on paying for the services they receive. Do I collect payment upfront? Usually, and I have no issue with that, but then, neither do my clients. Sometimes, if it is a larger contract, I do step payments, and occasionally I do half up front payments, it depends. The major issue is everyone is completely aware of what they are getting into.

I notice the difference mostly in smaller businesses. Small business owners, who normally despise lawyers, all of the sudden have working relationships with their attorney (me), as do larger corporations who are happy to finally be able to budget legal expenses.

Flat rate billing also is able to help clients put into perspective how much legal advice is worth to them on a per transaction basis. On a $500 contract, it probably isn't worth to get legal counsel on the transaction unless you have worked out a monthly general counsel agreement with them. But on a $10,000 contract, it may be of value to spend $1000 or more to make sure they get it right. And on a $100,000 or $500,000 contract, the extra $8000 in legal fees is going to make sure the contract runs extremely smooth.

In the end, flat rate has been a win win. Clients are happy because they can assess, evaluate, and make good business decisions, and I, as an attorney, enjoy working with them, and feel my clients are able to get good value for their dollar.