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商务英语谈判对话 04-06

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Chapter 6

Lawyers As Professional Negotiators 谈判专家--律师

....

Brenda: That's what happened. Do you think we have a case?

Lawyer: Okay, let me see if I've got this straight. You want to install a large air conditioning unit in your home, .....

.....(详细对话见Disk 1-18)

For Your Information(背景介绍)

Usually, almost everyone at the negotiating table earns their living by making and selling, or buying and selling a product. Negotiating sales is the least of what they do. The lawyers are the exception. Their work begins and ends at the meeting.

They're looking for something for free, and act like there're no tomorrow. To win, they will humiliate the other side as if they won't ever have to do business with them again. A judge once joked, it's best to consider lawyers as amoral. Regardless of whether it's you or the other side who hires a lawyer, it won't hurt to know what makes them tick.

Lawyers are paid by the hour. The best example I've seen of how being paid by the hour affects their work involves a client whose building was on leased land. The landowner required my client to draw up the papers for review by this own attorney.

I later learned the client's firm wrote several contracts for this landowner, but the attorney always required a rewrite of one or two certain sections. To avoid the cost of a rewrite, they put together a contract made up completely a pproved provisions from other contracts. But, the landowner's attorney wanted a section rewritten. The regular firm replied that the bad landuage was approved on another contract and asked why was it not okay now.

The attorney apologized and approved the contract. However, every future offer the landowner made specifically stated my client's firm may not represent the building owner.

To practice law in the U.S., an attorney must belong to the local Bar Association. The Bar requires its members be absolutely honest, reasonably competent and act as zealous advocates for their client. The Bar is a self-policing agency, and they strictly enforce their code and ethics.

A lawyer won't lie, but you have to ask the right questions, not accept answers with more than one interpretation and never assume anything. Never use pronouns, or nicknames instead of the subject's proper name. If this sounds like you're playing a word game, you are.

Today, all legal documents are written in a precise way and lawyers earn their living either writing things so there can be no misunderstanding, or by deliberately creating misunderstanding to negate documents. The legal proffession came into being through the clever use of words. Today's lawyers use that talent to their clients's advantage and their own.

Everyone intends to make the best possible. The attorney is there to protect the clients, but he's also there to make a buck. They will protect the client, but at the same time they'll stretch out the time at the negotiating table, and increase the workload so they can bill more. They will also interrupt things and kick up a fuss just to make sure the client sees them doing their job.

At one negotiation, the other side demanded something prohibited in the by-laws, my client simply couldn't do. The other lawyer told his client it was possible, because he reasoned anything is possible. Instead of pointing out why we couldn't comply, our lawyer started yelling and screaming that we would see them in court.

The meeting had turned to chaos so I stood and explained the law, and how every time this question was tried in the past the court ruled in favor of my client's position. Then, I asked their attorney to show the board and their client a case where the court agreed with his client's position. He couldn't and argument was over.

This lawyer told his clients what they wanted to hear, not the facts. He gave his opinion on their request and a court ruling, and agreed to represent them in court. But he left out hom small their chance of winning was, didn't cite case law, and my client's limited ability to comply. Our lawyer did the same. Both were zealous advocates for their client, doing exactly what the client wanted , which earned them the most possible.

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