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Practice Negotiating

by Nancy Hudgins
December 2008

From the blog of Nancy Hudgins

Nancy  Hudgins
What to do when the economy is in the tank? Practice negotiating!

The latest issue of AARP magazine has an article by Jeff Yeager, a man who makes his living bargaining for discounts and then writing about his experiences. The article lists 10 things you can do to negotiate lower prices for goods and services. (When I turned 50, my father kidded me: “You can join AARP now!” So I did.)

His tips speak to lawyers in mediation:

“The first thing I do when I’m negotiating for a discount is to
speak with someone who has the authority to make a deal.”

(Make sure the decision maker is in the room.)

“I come in knowing the range of pricing on the item I’m
bargaining for. “


"And, very important, I’m always friendly.”

(Rule of reciprocity.)

The article reminded me that one of the best ways we as lawyers can learn about the art of negotiation is to practice, practice, practice. And what better time to start than today, for our own pocketbooks, when the economy is in the tank?

You can find more about Jeff at his website Ultimate Cheapskate. Or buy his book, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches.

Update. I was unable to link to Yeager's article. The 10 areas in which he recommends negotiating are: medical/dental bills, bank fees (ask that they be waived), electronics (never pay the advertised price), groceries, hair salons, insurance, rent, subscription renewals, repairs and replacements (the independents have more flexibility to negotiate) and catalog sales (call and ask for unadvertised discounts).


Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class actions. She has settled and mediated thousands of cases. In addition to civil litigation mediation, she also co-mediates divorces with John Duda, a marriage and family therapist.

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