5 Tips to Negotiating the Numbers in Mediation

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.