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Archive for the ‘Negotiation’ Category

Arbitration and Mediation FAQs: Should I Agree to Mediate Future Disputes Arising out of a Business Contract or Transaction?

March 22nd, 2014 Arbitration and Mediation FAQs, Drafting Arbitration Agreements, Drafting Mediation Agreements, Mediation, Mediation Agreements, Negotiation, Small Business B-2-B Arbitration, Small Business B-2-B Mediation Comments Off on Arbitration and Mediation FAQs: Should I Agree to Mediate Future Disputes Arising out of a Business Contract or Transaction?

Suppose you are a business entity or an individual negotiating a contract that contemplates an ongoing business relationship with another person or entity. You need to consider many things, not the least of which is what kinds of provisions, if any, you might want to include in your contract that deal with the contingency of one or more disputes arising in the future. You might decide, for example, to agree to arbitrate disputes. You might decide that arbitration is too risky in the circumstances and that you would rather have a court resolve your dispute, but that you nevertheless want to include provisions in your contract dealing with choice of law, choice of forum, permissible remedies and the like. These are all important decisions that need to made carefully and often with the help of an attorney having skill and experience in such matters.

But they are not the only things that you might consider or be asked by your counterpart to consider. Whether or not you agree to arbitrate, or to litigate but only in a particular forum under the law of a particular state, there is something else you might want or be asked to consider: an agreement to mediate future disputes arising out of or relating to the contract and the business relationship it creates.

Should you give such an agreement some serious thought? There is no single correct answer to that question because, like most other things, the devil is in the details. But, depending on the circumstances, an agreement to mediate as a precondition to judicial or arbitral dispute resolution might be a very good idea. Continue Reading »

Small Business B-2-B Arbitration Part II.A: The Nature and Purpose of Arbitration

July 12th, 2013 Arbitration Agreements, Arbitration Practice and Procedure, Authority of Arbitrators, Awards, General, Making Decisions about Arbitration, Mediation, Negotiation, Practice and Procedure, Small Business B-2-B Arbitration Comments Off on Small Business B-2-B Arbitration Part II.A: The Nature and Purpose of Arbitration

The long- and short-term success of a business is generally measured by the economic benefits it produces for its investors.  Most business decisions require a business to accept risks of varying severity and frequency if the business is going to realize a meaningful return on investment.  All else being equal, to increase the likelihood that those decisions will yield profits, the business must accurately assess all material risks, their corresponding benefits and the interplay between the two.

The same holds true for the decision whether to make an arbitration agreement part of a business transaction, and if so, on what terms.  But in the author’s experience otherwise savvy and intelligent small-business-persons frequently view an arbitration agreement as a throw-in term that isn’t likely to affect materially the risk-benefit calculus of the transaction as a whole.  These business persons are therefore likely to agree to arbitrate with a more economically powerful counterpart without giving the matter much thought, let alone the careful thought they devote to the price and performance terms of the deal.  This approach, as a number of business people have learned the hard way over the years, can result in a very frustrating and potentially debilitating one-two punch:  dashed reasonable expectations coupled with very little, if any, meaningful judicial review. Continue Reading »

Two Upcoming and Notable ADR-Related Events of Interest

June 3rd, 2010 Events, Mediation, Negotiation, Securities Arbitration Comments Off on Two Upcoming and Notable ADR-Related Events of Interest

Our good friends Don Philbin and Victoria Pynchon are presenting this June on ADR-related subjects. 

On June 9, 2010, Don Philbin will be giving a presentation entitled “Deal or No Deal — Negotiation Strategy in Mediations,” as part of a Securities Arbitration & Mediation CLE program sponsored by the City Bar Center for CLE and other organizations.  (The program agenda is here.)  The program will be held at 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on June 9, 2010 at the New York City Bar (formerly “The Association of the Bar of the City of New York”), 42 West 44th Street, New York, New York 10036.   A one-hour networking lunch follows, beginning at 12:00 noon.  The program offers California, New York and Illinois CLE credit.  For information about fees and registration, click here or call the New York City Bar at (212) 382-6663.  

Don is an excellent speaker and has a unique, brain-science-oriented approach to negotiation and mediation.  He is also a very experienced arbitrator, mediator, attorney and consultant, whose many contributions to the ADR world include the ADR Highlight Reel (read about it here).   You can read about one of his prior presentations here, and his Forum guest post here and here

On June 10, 2010 Victoria Pynchon, along with John W. Tinghitella, is hosting a Negotiation for Women Workshop to be held in Pasedena, California.   The promotional materials for Vickie’s workshop point out some troubling statistics: 

  1. Women are 4 times less likely to negotiate their salaries after college and they lose up to a million dollars over their careers as a result
  2. Women own and manage 40% of all small businesses in the U.S., but obtain only 2 ½% of available venture capital
  3. Women continue to earn 77 cents on every male dollar. Professional women earn even less – women attorneys, for instance, earn only 60 cents on the male lawyer’s dollar

The workshop is designed to give women “the insight and tools to recognize your existing skills and seize the opportunities you’re now overlooking.  This will allow you to negotiate better working conditions, higher salaries, more benefits and better prices for your products and services.” 

For more information about Victoria’s workshop, including registration instructions, click here.  And you can read her recent blog post about the workshop, “Closing the Wage Gap Rocking Your World,” here.

This program comes highly recommended for women young and old, professional and nonprofessional.  Negotiation is a critical part of all of our day-to-day lives and anything that can make us better at it is a worthwhile endeavor.  And Vickie and John Tinghitella are recognized and respected authorities on the subject.

In fact, the program is of such practical value that I recommended it to one of my California-based sisters who lives within a reasonable driving distance of Pasadena.

Some Helpful Rules and Tips for Policyholders and Cedents Courtesy of Settlement Perspectives

December 15th, 2009 Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group, Follow-the-Settlements/Follow-the Fortunes, General, Negotiation, Reinsurance Allocation, Reinsurance Claims 1 Comment »

Our friend, colleague and fellow Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group member, John DeGroote, has written and published in his Settlement Perspectives blog an excellent article offering some very practical and sound guidance to corporate policyholders who are confronted with litigation that may fall within the scope of their liability insurance, and who desire to increase the odds of securing coverage.   John, who is President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of management and technology consulting firm BearingPoint, Inc. (formerly KPMG Consulting), was kind enough to seek our input on the article.  It is entitled Insurance Coverage: 4 Rules and 10 Tips for Policyholders, and features a link to a longer, more detailed article John co-wrote on the same subject for an Association of Corporate Counsel  (“ACC”) publication. 

When I read John’s draft the first thing that struck me was that the rules and tips he offers are, for all intents and purposes, applicable to cedents pursuing reinsurance recoveries.  He stresses, among other things, the importance of honesty, good faith, open communication and not colluding with the claimant in an effort to obtain coverage.  These attributes are ones to which diligent, ceded claims personnel should aspire in their dealings with their company’s reinsurers, because they tend to increase the odds of achieving a successful recovery and avoiding time-consuming and expensive reinsurance disputes (all other things being equal). 

John was also kind enough to quote my comments in his article, which are reproduced below: 

As I discussed these rules with Philip J. Loree Jr. at the Loree Reinsurance and Arbitration Law Forum the other day, I learned that they don’t only apply to policyholders –  apparently insurers must live by these same rules to collect from their reinsurers:

You would be surprised how frequently reinsurers contend that the carrier colluded with the policyholder in direct insurance coverage litigation.  If the reinsurer can establish collusion concerning the fact, amount or allocation of coverage, or if the reinsurer otherwise shows that the carrier acted in bad faith, then the reinsurer will usually be relieved of liability for the claim.  Like policyholders making direct insurance claims, carriers making reinsurance claims need to avoid even the appearance of collusion or bad faith, and following rules analogous to yours helps them do that.

Whether you happen to be a corporate or individual policyholder, or a cedent wishing to increase the odds of successfully collecting from reinsurers, John’s fine article comes highly recommended.   In fact if you are at all interested in settlement and ADR, we highly recommend that you follow Settlement Perspectives.  John writes high-quality, insightful and practical  articles on a variety of pertinent topics.  Who could ask for more?

Update: The LinkedIn Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group is 404 Members Strong

October 30th, 2009 Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group, Mediation, Negotiation Comments Off on Update: The LinkedIn Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group is 404 Members Strong

On May 21, 2009 Disputing and the Loree Reinsurance and Arbitration Law Forum announced the formation of the LinkedIn Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group (post available here), an open forum for the discussion of industry and commercial ADR.   At that time the group was 29 members strong, and we are pleased to report that the group has since grown to 404 members.  And about 150 of those new members have joined since August 29, 2009. 

Discussions have been lively, the group is internationally and professionally diverse, and group members have access to several ADR blogs, as well as articles posted by other group members.  It is an excellent networking and learning opportunity for anyone interested in commercial and industry ADR.

The group recently set up a subgroup — the Effective Negotiation and Settlement Subgroup — which is now more than 90 members strong.  This subgroup, founded by California mediator, arbitrator and blogger Michael P. Carbone, focuses on identifying and discussing the effective negotiation, mediation and settlement of disputes that are the subject of pending arbitration or litigation proceedings.  Membership in the main group is the only prerequisite to participate in the subgroup.   

Membership in the group is recommended to those interested in keeping abreast of current events pertinent to arbitration (including consumer arbitration), tracking judicial and legislative developments relevant to arbitration law, learning more about the subject, or simply sharing information.  We are proud to have as members a number of commercial and industry arbitrators, attorneys, law professors, industry people and arbitration professionals.   

Membership is also recommended if you are a mediator, a business person who utilizes mediation to resolve disputes, an attorney who represent clients in mediation or a person interested in learning about mediation or sharing information on the subject.  The group is proud to have as members a number of accomplished mediators, including some well-known ADR bloggers.  Not being a mediator myself, I have learned much about mediation simply through group participation.    

We welcome new members.  The group is not a forum for, and does not permit, advertising or blatant self-promotion, so our members need not be concerned about being subject to sales pitches, and the like. 

If you are already a member of LinkedIn, please click here to apply for membership in the Group. If you are not a LinkedIn member, click here, and you will be guided through the process of creating a profile (which does not need to be completed in one step).  Once your profile is started, and you have a log-in name and password, you can apply for membership in the Group (which entails no more than clicking on a button).  Joining LinkedIn is free, as is joining the group.

We hope you’ll join us and participate!

Introducing Guest-Blogger Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

October 28th, 2009 Guest Posts, Mediation, Negotiation Comments Off on Introducing Guest-Blogger Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

Today we are proud to feature our good friend and colleague Don Philbin as a guest blogger.   

As readers may know, Don is an arbitrator, mediator, negotiator, AV-rated attorney, and business consultant, whose website is here.  He is an experienced commercial litigator, and was general counsel and president of hundred-million dollar plus communications- and technology-related companies.   He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Alternative Dispute Resolution; Woodward/White 2007, 2008).  In addition to his other work Don frequently writes and speaks on topics pertinent to ADR, and is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Law School’s prestigious Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.  He serves as a co-manager of LinkedIn’s Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group (here), and tweets about ADR-related topics on Twitter (follow Don here).   Don can be contacted here.  

Don was kind enough to send us a post on one of his favorite topics: brain science and its relevance to negotiation.  His post briefly describes a seminar on this subject, which he attended the weekend before last, and which he found particularly compelling.   Read about it here.

Don Philbin Guest Post: Brain Science Improves Negotiation

October 28th, 2009 Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group, Guest Posts, Mediation, Negotiation 4 Comments »

By Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

Psychology has informed negotiation theory for years. (See here.)  As a result, we know that all negotiators:

  1. Are overconfident – we all live in Lake Wobegon where the grass is greener and everyone is above-average;
  2. Reactively devalue offers coming from an adverse party – even if they happen to be in our interest (“it can’t be good for us if it came from them”); and
  3. Have different risk tolerances – and react differently to the same offer.

But faster magnetic resonance imaging (“MRI”) machines have allowed brain scientists to monitor a subject’s reactions to different stimuli in real time.  That has accelerated the pace of discovery and expanded research frontiers.  Vanderbilt Law School, for instance, has received grants to investigate how insights of brain research affect the legal system.  (See here.)  When used in an effort to prove guilt or innocence, there is inevitable controversy.  But learning how the human brain often functions can be good training for negotiators and the mediators that often assist them.

I have long been interested in the ways economics and psychology can broaden the typical legal analysis in mediation.  The ABA recently published “How Brain Science can Make You a Better Lawyer” (here), a broad survey, but not particularly insightful negotiation theory.  So I took a course titled, “Neuro-Collaboration: How New Perspectives from the Neurosciences Can Enhance Your Collaborative Conflict Resolution Skills” (here) the weekend before last in beautiful Woodstock, Vermont (yes, the leaves were still changing).  Continue Reading »