Almost all cases settle. Your ability to win a successful settlement is as important to your client as it is to the longevity of your practice. In Winning Settlements, successful lawyers from across the country offer a range of case studies to discuss numerous issues, from effective negotiation strategies to ways to maximize settlements for your clients that go beyond monetary awards, insights into the psychology of negotiations in law, advice for increasing case value, and more.
Over the course of ten chapters, the authors share a cornucopia of winning legal tactics for favorable settlements that you can begin adopting into your practice today:
- In “The Nuts and Bolts to Achieving Appropriate Settlements,” James Abernethy discusses the vital importance of case preparation (from the initial complaint and demand letter to discovery) and why “cut-and-paste boilerplate” approaches only weaken your cases. Abernethy walks the reader through his process for approaching settlement and mediation, discussing the pros and cons of numerous strategies from “bracketology” to when restraint is a more effective choice than aggression. Abernethy answers three of the most frequent questions he sees regarding settlement negotiations and offers solutions to common mistakes lawyers make during mediation.
- In “Settlements That Can Heal the Soul,” Charla G. Aldous and Brent R. Walker provide two successful settlement case studies to demonstrate limitations in the standard tort law model and how, in certain instances, introducing a reparative process into settlement negotiations can be used to provide a more restorative outcome for some clients than either trial or a standard monetary settlement can.
- In “Tactical Advice, Ethics, and Mindset for Settlement,” Aaron Broussard shares successful tactics for dealing with settlement negotiations, pre-mediation offers, policy limits, liens, liability issues, and motions for summary judgment. Broussard also offers advice for dealing with adjusters and defense lawyers, how to prepare your clients for mediation, what to do if you have conflicts of interest, how to judge when the best time to settle a case is, and the importance of being ready to go to trial.
- In “Re-Defining Your Win,” Joe Fried explains his approach to finding an outcome that is a win for everyone: your client, the defendant, and the broader community. Fried also covers how shocking vulnerability as opposed to hiding or minimizing negative facts can increase settlement values as well as the importance of playing the long game and how consciously and intentionally building a long-term reputation pays dividends for your clients.
- In “Minimizing Tax Liability on Confidential Settlement Proceeds,” Mark R. Kosieradzki and James Stout cover how to navigate IRS guidelines for the tax treatment of settlement proceeds, and why parties involved in such agreements must deal with these regulations carefully to ensure compliance. Their chapter is designed to help you successfully handle tax issues and steer clear of the common mistakes that can cause your client to be forced to pay an otherwise avoidable tax bill.
- In “Giving the Defense What They Need to Help Your Client,” Michael Leizerman introduces his method for achieving successful settlement terms. Leizerman shares why thorough trial preparation and evidence gathering are crucial before mediation, tips for avoiding mediations that are a waste of time, the value of video-recorded focus groups, the importance of making sure the defense has what they need to evaluate the claim, and how to productively discuss settlement without showing weakness.
- In “Getting Better Settlements by Fighting Secrecy,” Patrick Malone lays out settlement negotiation tactics plaintiffs’ lawyers can use to achieve better outcomes for their clients, themselves, and society at large. Malone cautions that the defense can use secret settlement offers to create a conflict between your client’s (and your) short- and long-term interests and provides a detailed discussion with examples of the ethics rules, psychology, and case law surrounding secrecy clauses and how they can harm both your current and future clients.
- In “Using Settlement to Change the World and Make Communities Safer,” Randi McGinn begins with the premise that clients, especially those in cases with a wrongful death or serious injury, want more than money–they want change. Beginning with an example from very early in her career to later examples of larger cases, McGinn demonstrates negotiation techniques that her firm uses to win settlements that get the justice her clients truly seek–including better safety laws, redesigned products, and memorials to deceased loved ones.
- In “Leverage and Settling Injury Claims,” Michael Neff looks at the importance of leverage in settlement negotiations. When the only thing that insurance companies understand is leverage, Neff introduces ways to recognize and gain it to resolve cases for just values. Neff discusses examples of evidentiary leverage he’s used in past cases, and he provides an in-depth case study of how to handle negotiations with the defense.
- In “Navigating Workers’ Comp Liens to Maximize Settlements in Your Third-Party Cases,” Sean Simpson teaches you how to settle your client’s third-party claim with a companion workers’ compensation claim. This chapter analyzes key points to keep in mind when you litigate and settle a third-party case. Simpson also covers coordinating with the workers’ comp lawyer early to gain maximum benefit in your companion cases, addressing the benefits of settling the workers’ comp case before or after the third-party case, and using employer fault and other arguments to reduce the workers’ comp lien as much as possible.
Discover insights from top lawyers with proven track records that you can use to obtain the best possible outcomes for your clients. Whether you’re an experienced lawyer or just starting out, Winning Settlements is a must-have for your practice that teaches effective settlement strategies for lawyers.
- The Nuts and Bolts To Achieving Appropriate Settlements by Jim Abernethy
- Settlements That Can Heal the Soul by Charla Aldous & Brent Walker
- Tactical Advice, Ethics, and Mindset for Settlement Aaron Broussard
- Re-defining Your Win by Joe Fried
- Taxability of Confidentiality Agreements by Mark Kosieradzki & James Stout
- Giving the Defense What they Need to Help Your Client by Michael Leizerman
- Getting Better Settlements by Fighting Secrecy by Patrick Malone
- Using Your Settlement to Change the World and Make Your Community Safer by Randi McGinn
- Leverage and Settling Injury Claims by Michael Neff
- Settling Third-Party Cases That Have Companion Workers’ Compensation Cases by Sean Simpson