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Shakfeh Law LLC Blog

As a Chicago small business attorney, negotiating skills are paramount to my practice. If you listen to or read work by negotiation thought leaders, you will find, like in any field, differences of opinion. Two of the most well-known books about negotiation are Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In and The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator. If you read about negotiation, you will learn about establishing your BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement) before coming to the table.

These negotiating books have a lot of good principles, but a book I recently read, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, gives a whole new perspective: specifically, that traditional notions of negotiation are rooted in the flawed belief that people negotiate in logical terms. In other words, traditional strategies advise their readers to negotiate using logical thought processes. Concepts such as focusing on the issue and compromising are examples of logical-based strategies. In Getting to Yes, proposed principles include 'separate the people from the problem' and to 'insist on using objective criteria.' In addition, people traditionally consider it an acceptable compromise to arbitrarily meet half way or 'split the difference.'

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Shakfeh Law LLC Blog

Clients often come to me with many misconceptions about lawsuits. For one, they tend to think that lawsuits do not last very long. I blame this largely on TV legal drama which shows attorneys fighting for their clients in a full courtroom within a week of being hired. I usually tell my clients to prepare themselves for at least a year in court if they get sued or want to be sued. Below I outlined the basic phases and anatomy of a lawsuit:

Phase 1—Initiation of the lawsuit legal research:

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By Ronnie Farhat, Esq.

In a perfect world, all contracts we enter into would go accordingly to plan. Unfortunately, the world isn't perfect and breaches happen. Whether you are dealing with a contract issue as an individual or as a business, it is important to have a basic understanding of what tends to happen when a contract is breached and what the potential remedies might be for you and your business in such a circumstance. As an Illinois contract lawyer, I will share the basics of breaches of contracts.

What is a breach of contract?

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It's a total contract myth that there are 'standard' contracts or contract terms. I've even heard other attorneys improperly stating that parties can not agree to terms because it's not 'standard.' The truth is that contracts are living, breathing documents that can be changed to suit people's needs and as long as the courts or law do not prohibit certain clauses, the parties can agree to it. On the flip-side, just because a contract term is 'standard' does not mean a court will or not will not enforce it and that you can't negotiate the terms. The purpose of this article is explore what people mean by 'standard' contracts, how and when to negotiate those terms, and what happens in court with 'standard contracts.'

What is a 'Standard Contract' or 'Standard Term'?

I typically people refer to 'standard' contracts in two contexts: 1) a company telling a customer to sign terms that 'just standard' and 2) when parties negotiating a contract and insist on arbitrary 'standard' terms. There is in fact no such thing as a 'standard' anything in contract. There are terms common and typical to a specific industry, there may be industry standards that are in contracts, legal requirements for certain transactions, and there are 'boilerplate' terms, but from a legal standpoint, there is no law that requires parties to contract to certain terms. Common industry standards include requiring parties to carry certain types of insurance or expect a certain quality of work, but they are not legal requirements for a contract. There are also legal requirements required by statute, but this does not need be in the contract to be applicable. For example, certain employers are legally required to provide health insurance to their employees. This does not need be included in the contract for it to be effective. Lastly, there are 'boilerplate' terms, which is really just another term for 'common terms.' As I will explain later, using boilerplate terms without consulting a business lawyer or contract lawyer can be a very bad idea.

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By Ronnie Farhat, Esq.

The vast majority of lawsuits in the United States do not go to trial. Litigation is an extremely draining process, both financially and emotionally, for all parties involved. As a result, the vast majority of lawsuits that are filed are ultimately resolved through settlement. Assuming you are already involved in a lawsuit either as the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) or a defendant (someone who the lawsuit was filed against), here are some of the factors you should consider to determine whether it is appropriate to settle at any given stage of the litigation. This article is perfect if you need to start or are involved in a lawsuit and need a business law attorney, business contract attorney, or business litigation attorney.

What Are Your Goals?

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