Negotiating Tip: The 85% Rule

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Lawyers know there is no such thing as a slam-dunk case.

Even the most straight-forward case, like a suit on a promissory note (an “IOU”), can have twists and turns you don’t expect.  I’ve had defendant’s argue over the words of the note and the size of the typeface.  I have one now where the defendant argued that her note should be canceled by the court because she didn’t receive consideration for it.  She lost.  I got a judgment.  She’s appealing the judgment.

Even in what you may think is a slam-dunk case, there is still a 15% chance that something can go wrong.  Your case is continued, a witness doesn’t show up, the judge is having a bad day or the case is appealed.  And add to uncertainty, time and attorney fees.

So we have what we call the 85% rule at our office.  If you offered 85% by settlement instead of trial, take it.