Excerpts: Structured Negotiation (the Book)

Litigation plays a crucial role in enforcing rights, and sometimes it is the best or only option. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Structured Negotiation offers a different set of tools that author Lainey Feingold, her clients and co-counsel have used for the past two decades to negotiate settlement agreements with some of the country’s largest organizations. Lainey’s book, Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits is now available from the American Bar Association. This book will guide lawyers and advocates in a new way to resolve legal claims without conflict or run-away costs.

Here are some excerpts from the book. You can also read what people are saying about Structured Negotiation or more information about the book.

The book can be purchased from the American Bar Association. Use coupon code LFLEGAL10 to receive 10% off the purchase price.

Buy the book!

share on twitter

From the Introduction

Many lawyers cannot find a satisfactory balance between work and the rest of their lives. Members of the public are hesitant to pursue legal claims because of the stigma, time, stress and expense of litigation. Without court-imposed deadlines, motion practice, formal discovery, subpoenas, expert battles, and other litigation trappings, Structured Negotiation gives lawyers and clients more control over their lives. In 2007 one of my big firm negotiating partners was quoted in a legal publication about Structured Negotiation. “The informality of the process allows for a more relaxed schedule, so your life and your clients’ life isn’t crazed,” he said. Eight years later I was in the middle of a Structured Negotiation with a lawyer who was handling his first case in this alternative dispute resolution process. “How do you like Structured Negotiation?” I asked him. “All I can say,” he said appreciatively, “is that I can sleep at night. That sums it up.” Introduction| Structured Negotiation

From Chapter 7: Discovery Alternatives in Structured Negotiation

When a lawsuit is filed, parties readily drop into the morass of discovery rules. Because the rules are there and the objections plentiful, lawyers seem compelled to enter the expensive and often unproductive world of formal discovery regardless of settlement possibilities. It is as if some lawyers are afraid they are not doing their job if they do not take advantage of every opportunity to request and object. Discovery is too often information gathering for information gathering sake; objecting just because objections are available.


True discovery should be about learning and sharing information necessary to resolve disputes. Instead of a “tool to force settlement” that is wielded by the party with the greater resources, it should be a tool for everyone that aids settlement. In Structured Negotiation that is what happens.


When documents are needed during a Structured Negotiation we request them, and if we have questions we ask them. Why so simple? First, we have created an atmosphere of trust. Second, the information to settle a case is different than the information needed to prove a case to a judge or jury. The type and amount of information requested (and objected to) in a traditional case is simply not necessary if the goal is reaching a fair, enforceable settlement. Chapter 7 | Structured Negotiation

From Chapter 16: Cultivate the Structured Negotiation Mindset

A successful litigator once told me she would love to handle her cases in Structured Negotiation. She had been bruised and exhausted by fickle judges and volatile opposing counsel. She was sick of constantly arguing over procedural points unrelated to the subject of her lawsuits. The emotional strain carried over to her personal life.

“Then why don’t you try Structured Negotiation?” I asked her.

“I can’t do it,” she said, “I just don’t have your personality.”

I do not believe there is a Structured Negotiation personality. Anyone who wants to practice law in a collaborative manner can learn to do it. But whether you label them personality traits, personal qualities, negotiating skills, emotional
strategies, or even spiritual qualities, an attitude of collaboration increases the likelihood the process will be successful. I call this attitude the Structured Negotiation mindset. It is comprised of elements that make dispute resolution without judges and court rules possible: patience, trust and optimism; confidence and equanimity; appreciation; and just plain being friendly.Chapter 16 | Structured Negotiation

Simplified Summary

This web page contains excerpts from Lainey Feingold’s  book that will be published this Fall.  The book is called Structured Negotiation, a Winning Alternative to Lawsuits. It is about solving legal problems without lawsuits. In Structured Negotiation  people share information without having to spend time and money on expensive legal procedures. There is less stress because people are trying to work together to resolve their legal claims.