Zealous non-Advocacy

We’ve covered this before. This time, instead of “make them fight for every inch,” it was a variant of “my anatomy is bigger than your anatomy.” Here’s an excerpt from a conference call negotiation over an acquisition agreement. Not verbatim, but pretty close.

Our counsel: “I always get this provision for my clients.”

Their counsel: “I never give it — or get it. It’s not market.”

Our counsel: “Never? You’re not trying hard enough!” (snickers)

Their counsel: “I represented [Fortune 100 company] in the [M&A deal of the century] and even they didn’t get this provision. It’s a crazy ask, and you’re wasting your client’s time and money.”

Our counsel: “That’s sad. I did two deals just like this one for much smaller clients, and we got this provision both times!”

And on it went for a good 2-3 minutes. The other side’s business person stopped it with, “Let’s come back to this.”

Afterward, we reminded our counsel that this kind of posturing is unacceptable.  It’s not professional.  It makes you look like you’re interested in your reputation more than getting the client’s work done. At my suggestion, our business person proposed a middle ground to the other side’s business person in exchange for something we really wanted.  They took it. Everyone forgot about the “non market” provision, and moved on.

Why did I have to do this instead of the $750/hr lawyer we hired?


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