How Will Your Lawyer Approach the Deal?
Updated: May 17
What kind of lawyer do you want to help negotiate, paper, and close your deal? Do you want a fighter or a collaborator to help you get your deal done (or a little bit of both)? Lawyers are often portrayed as aggressive fighters out to do whatever they can to get as much as possible for their clients. That approach might work well in a lawsuit, but might be counterproductive for doing a business deal. While a deal lawyer needs to be firm in his representation of his client, he also needs to be reasonable and collaborative with the other side in order to get the deal put together and closed (unless his client decides to abandon the deal). A deal lawyer needs to know what is reasonable and customary for the terms and conditions of a deal. In addition, he needs to be able to filter and prioritize which issues he will aggressively negotiate versus those which can be resolved in a collaborative manner. The lawyer's approach also should influence the way in which he drafts and revises legal documents for the deal.
A lawyer who is too aggressive in negotiations or too heavy-handed in drafting or revising legal documents might jeopardize the deal by causing the other side to escalate its responses and positions. That approach might cause the business people on each side of the deal to drift farther apart, rather than get closer together, as they work toward closing the deal. Even if the deal closes, an overly aggressive or combative approach to handling the deal might erode the trust and relationship between the business people. Bad relationships might damage the deal and the post-closing success of the business.
Many clients doing a deal for the first time might think all lawyers are alike. But a lawyer's personality and approach to lawyering might significantly impact the success of the deal. For that reason, a business person should get a good feel for a lawyer's approach to doing deals as that person evaluates which lawyer to engage.