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Five Strategies for Effective Settlement Negotiations

Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown (Ret.)
Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown (Ret.)
JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Hearing Officer


Every litigator knows that many more cases settle than go to judgment. At some point in almost every lawsuit, the parties will discuss settlement, either on their own or with a push from the judge. During my 16 years as a United States Magistrate Judge, I conducted more than 100 settlement conferences each year. I witnessed the whole range of lawyer performance. Underprepared lawyers and their clients stumbled into settlement conferences, often resulting in a negotiation that didn’t lead to settlement, or they settled on terms they found disappointing. Effective lawyers, on the other hand, approached settlement negotiations strategically and with thoughtful preparation.

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