Joan Stearns Johnsen
University of Florida – Levin College of Law
March 8, 2011
Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, Vol. 30, 2011
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 45
Third Party Neutrals can add value to the negotiation of transactions just as they add value to the negotiation of litigation settlements. Regardless of whether the objective is to resolve a litigation matter, establish an employment relationship, or to form a complex, multi-national, multi-party, multi-billion dollar joint venture, a deal is a deal. The issues that most often lead to impasse in any negotiation usually include personal dynamics, conflicting negotiation styles, unrealistic expectations, or miscommunication. An experienced Neutral is uniquely positioned to help the parties to resolve these issues and build relationships regardless of the subject matter of the negotiation. The objective of all negotiations is either to reach agreement or to learn sooner rather than later that no agreement is possible. Transaction attorneys and other agents can use Third Party Neutrals to accomplish these objectives more efficiently. This article will explore the option of utilizing Neutrals to facilitate the negotiation of problematic transactions. It will discuss the ways in which Deal Facilitation or Deal Mediation compares favorably to Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediation and can produce similar results. It also addresses the most common objections to the use of Third Party Neutrals in transactional practice.