A Positive Theory of Legal Negotiation

Russell B. Korobkin

UCLA School of Law

March 2000

Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 88, 2000


The legal negotiation literature emphasizes the numerous tactical issues facing negotiators without providing a clear theoretical construct that can serve as an organizing principle. Professor Korobkin proposes a descriptive theory of legal negotiation centered on what he identifies as the two strategic imperatives of the process: defining the range of possible agreements («zone definition») and agreeing on a single deal-point within that range («surplus allocation»). Using a variety of examples, the article argues that all negotiation tactics can be understood as serving one of these two strategic goals.

A Positive Theory of Legal Negotiation

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