Mediation IS NEGOTIATION and COMPROMISE. Most mediations are about money, flowing from one person to the other. Knowing how to negotiate in money terms is key.
5 Tips to Negotiating the Numbers in Mediation
- Know your bottom number. If the case is over a broken fence that costs $500 to replace, and you’ll take $500, then that’s your bottom number
- Add-in all your fees and ancillary cost UP FRONT. Many, many people forget to add-in filing fees, attorney’s fees, and such. Add these in up-front.
- “Start high as a Seller.” You know the old adage about starting high, in order to get to your bottom number. Don’t start with your bottom number, but work in some cushion.
- Ping-Ponging is OK: This can best be illustrated by example. Let’s say your neighbor damaged your fence, with a replacement cost of $500. You should begin asking at least $750 if you want to end up at that number. I’ve seen parties ping-pong back and forth a dozen times, to finally “meet in the middle.” Party A starts at $750, Party B counter-offers at $100, then Party A re-offers at $650, and Party B counters-offers at $200…you see where this is going.
- Meeting in the Middle: Most likely, the parties will cut the ping-pong and settle at $450 by one party saying, “I know where we’re going, $450 is my offer IF you agree to accept.”
TJ Hilliard is a GA Lawyer, practicing for the last 2 years, specializing in: landlord tenant, contract disputes, and business formation.