The critical skill for lawyers?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image1143506If a core function of lawyers is to span boundaries – to forge connections across divides between adverse interests –  then negotiating must surely be a critical skill for lawyers. Negotiating finds the path through uncertainty and ambiguity between adverse interests.

In the context of a law firm, how to negotiate is a subject that all lawyers have in common regardless of practice areas. After an initial lawyer training session on negotiations at Brooks Pierce, one of our senior lawyers (a “grizzled veteran”) said to me, “You know negotiating is really all I have ever done.”

Do law schools offer negotiations classes or training? If they do, I do not know it. You would think they would — if it is a critical skill, the need of which is shared by everyone in the profession. We have taken up the issue at our firm.

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