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Your Negotiation Partner is Not Your Adversary

by Victoria Pynchon
March 2009

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

Thanks to Diane Levin at the Mediation Channel for pointing me to a recent post by Ken Adams about the adversarial versus the "meeting of the minds" approach to contract drafting.  Thanks to both!

Contracts as a Relationship-Building Tool

That’s a long way from my let’s-have-a-meeting-of-the-minds approach. But I’m so buried in detail that I find it useful to be reminded periodically that contracts serve a broader function than mitigating your risk or handcuffing the other guy. I received just such a reminder in the form of this blog post by Douglas R. Griess of the Denver law firm Dymond Reagor Colville.

Some people regard the contract process as an adversarial one. I encountered a great example of that recently: someone I’ve been corresponding with used the word “opponent” in referring to a lawyer representing the other side in a deal. When the other side is the enemy, you’re free to indulge in “creative ambiguity” and other shenanigans.

Diane, who writes the best mediation blog in the country preceded my entry into the blogosphere by years.  She could have treated me like a competitor.  Instead, she taught me how to use html code (that's how long ago in blog years we "met"); hipped me to the folkways of the blogosphere; introduced me to her best professional contacts; and, all but baked me a hot apple pie.

If it works here on the internet - collaboration instead of competition - which is where the 21st century is heading mind you -- online -- it should work equally well in all of our professional and business dealings, particularly as we struggle with the one big failing economy that will rise when one of us rises and fall again when one of us falls.

Just sayin' . . . .

Biography


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 



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Website: www.settlenow.com

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