Negotiation Secret: Be Nice

An important part of a criminal-defense lawyer’s job is negotiating with the State. Good negotiators have knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor assigned to the case, the types of sentences the judge hearing the case typically hands down, the factual strengths and weaknesses of the case, the legal strengths and weaknesses of the case, etc.

But, all the knowledge in the world may not be enough to get the best deal possible if the criminal-defense lawyer does not know how to behave like a gentleman or lady. Up until a couple of months ago, I was a criminal prosecutor. During my time as a prosecutor, I had the opportunity to negotiate with a lot of different attorneys and pro-se defendants. It always amazed me that it never occurred to some people to be nice and check their emotions at the door. Nice people always got much further with me than nasty people, and it is always easier to go from nice to mean (if appropriate) then it is to go from mean to nice.

So, be nice or pay the price.

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.