The Commandments of Ethical Settlement Negotiations for Lawyers

February 14, 2013

Jennifer Finnegan hosted a webinar for Lorman Education Services.

By all accounts, the majority of civil disputes settle. Thus, chances are that if a lawyer is a litigator, he or she will play the role of settlement negotiator at least once in his or her career. While the goal of settlement negotiation is clear -- arriving at the best possible outcome for the client -- the rules of the game are not as clear. Nonetheless, they are attorney's obligation to know and follow. 

Breaking the rules can have significant and long-term negative impacts on both the attorney and the client, from jeopardizing the client's interests in the outcome of the negotiation to subjecting the attorney to a full spectrum of disciplinary action. Conversely, knowing and following these rules - the "commandments of ethical settlement negotiation" - protects one of the most important assets any attorney owns, which in turn greatly benefits clients: his or her reputation and good standing in the bar.