When heading into litigation, Attorney Shapiro spends time going over what is considered a successful negotiation. At Resolution Matters, we provide clients with seven elements to help heal any trauma experienced through this process. These elements give the clients a resource for coping with the process ahead of them.
Picture a circle with three of the elements inside it, with two elements at the top and two at the bottom of the circle. The three inside the circle are the core and what is needed to get to an agreement. That should be the focus of each involved party. Those elements are understanding the interests of each party, the possible options for a settlement, and the legal legitimacy of the settlement. We will circle back to those.
We start with discussing the client’s relationship with other involved parties. We discuss the history of the relationship, the history of family dynamics, and the relationships within the family’s community. We work with the client to ensure that they know that we will help them receive the full support needed while going through the legal process. They need to know that they are not alone.
Also at the top of the circle is communication. Communication is a key component to moving forward in a high-conflict situation. This is when we might use the balcony described earlier. The client will practice co-regulation breathing, where you practice breathing along with the person next to you in the situation. This helps the client to learn to communicate in a more thoughtful, constructive, and direct way. They find their voice and build courage. Resolution Matters can help a client find their voice to express their needs in the settlement.
At the bottom of the circle is commitment. The legal process does not happen automatically but takes time. The client must muster the strength and persistent, along with compassion for themselves to stay in the legal process. They understand that there is a possibility of being re-traumatized during the legal process, but they can work through it.
Lastly, at the bottom of the circle is the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. In this case we are comparing whether settling the dispute out of court is better than going to court for litigation or not.
Then we move to the center of the circle to interests of the parties involved. At this stage, we really investigate and look at what is important to the parties involved. We use our full resources in the most expansive way rather than compromise. The client begins to understand what is important to them.
The second element inside the circle is options for a settlement. This is where the brainstorming happens. They options might be rough drafts or lists. This gets the parties involved thinking about why they want certain items included or not included in the settlement.
The third element inside the circle is legitimacy. The agreement must meet legal requirements of the state and other entities that might have some oversight of the final agreement.