Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I attended a seminar on mediation today. The speaker referenced The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. In Dr. Covey’s book, he advocates for “win/win or no deal”. I wonder how this works in the context of a negotiation to settle a lawsuit, especially where there is no ongoing business relationship to preserve or repair. Is the goal to make the other side satisfied or to settle the most advantageous position for your client—the most money for the plaintiff or the least amount for the defendant? This latter kind of thinking reminds me of a piece I read in another book which argued that “friendly competition” is an oxymoron. I think Dr. Covey’s point is well-taken in certain contexts—for example, you definitely want to fashion a deal where your joint venturer, partner or even customer/vendor experiences a “win” as well. But, I don’t necessarily agree that it applies in all contexts such as a defendant settling a lawsuit, especially one that is nonmeritorious.