How lawyers negotiate, perceptions of effectiveness in legal negotiations

  • Tom Craig Hutcheson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis presents the results from a study that qualitatively assessed how practicing lawyers perceive effectiveness in legal negotiations. The results from this study suggest that practicing lawyers primarily perceive effectiveness in legal negotiations subjectively rather than based on objective criteria, and that their subjective perception of client satisfaction is the most important factor in their determination of overall effectiveness. Both the reputations of practicing lawyers, as well as the relationships between the parties involved in legal negotiations including the relationship between the lawyers themselves, were identified as being particularly important to practicing lawyers in relation to how and what they perceive as being effective. The effect of these factors appear to be related directly to the size and structure of the legal market with the findings suggesting that smaller legal markets populated by specialist repeat player lawyers such as is found in Scotland may act to heighten the influence of both reputations and relationships. This study also suggests that lawyers differentiate between the tone of negotiation behaviour and the content of the behaviour and that this distinction is important to their perception of effectiveness. The lawyers involved predominantly perceived themselves to have a negotiation behavioural style characterised as 'reasonable' and more 'cooperative' in nature than 'competitive', with the analysis suggesting the nature of their style is likely to be in the nature of a 'reasonable/compromiser' with little evidence found of any true interest based value creating types of behaviour being dominant. Finally, although the motivations in relation to legal negotiations held by practicing lawyers in the study appear to be linked to perceptions of effectiveness, no evidence was found that suggests specific motivations are linked to any particular negotiation style.
Date of Award11 Feb 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorBryan Clark (Supervisor) & Jane Scoular (Supervisor)

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