Opening Statements

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We asked litigator Matt McConnell of the Lafayette, La., office of Preis & Roy whether he thought this book on negotiation had the kind of advice that would benefit practicing lawyers. Here’s his report:

Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want

By Martin E. Latz (St. Martin’s Press, $25.95)

In this book, Martin E. Latz, founder of the Latz Negotiation Institute and a former negotiator on White House Advance Teams, explains the strategic science and competitive gamesmanship of negotiation.

With examples taken from everyday experience, such as buying or selling a car or negotiating high-level corporate takeovers, he reveals how being well-informed and aware of the parties’ relative lev­erage and styles can influence negotiations.

Latz then shows how to create that leverage and improve your position before nego­­t­iating. He also shows how to recognize how and where concession may be more productive than “digging in,” and how advance goal-setting can create gains from such concessions.

Most helpful: “In business, you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate,” says Latz, quoting negotiation guru Chester L. Karrass. He illustrates with the story of Thomas Edison’s sale of the Universal stock ticker. Edison decided in advance to ask $5,000 for it, but would accept as little as $3,000. When he hesitated, however, the buyer made the first offer—for $40,000! By holding off, Edison made more than 10 times what he would have accepted.

Who it’s for: Anyone who’s wondered why, despite informally discovering vital facts in your favor, your results disappoint.

Recommendation: Buy it. As a lawyer, you and your clients will appreciate how this easy-reading guide improves your analytical approach to purposeful negotiation.

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