Page 13 - FDCC_InsightsSpecialIssue23.2
P. 13

Alternative Dispute Resolution
 an international party on either side of a case I refer to it. I have learned that Germans do not like small talk and they don’t prefer to be asked personal questions. Mexicans are very conscious of formality and respect. Certain Asian cultures will nod their heads and smile and appear to agree with you when all they are doing is signifying that they understand what you are saying. Other cultures believe that everyone lies in negotiation and that it is acceptable for them to lie as well. Most importantly, there are many cultures in which it may appear to a US negotiator that a deal has been accepted when it is actually their intention to seek further terms.
In addition to the examples I have just offered, the book I am suggesting teaches about how other cultures make decisions. Some cultures decision making is collective and the lead negotiator will have to confer with the group and obtain consensus. In others, decision making is done by the leader of the group after input from others. Importantly, negotiators should know whether the culture of decision making of the group is collectivist or individualistic.
1. I could go on, but the point of my pitch is that we lawyers must be sensitive to cultural differences and we cannot merely assume that we know how others make decisions. As FDCC members we are expected to be the best of the best, and if you want to be the best, then it is time to educate yourself about how international litigants think. Through education you will improve your relationships with your clients, and you will succeed in obtaining better outcomes.
John Trimble is a Partner at Lewis Wagner in Indianapolis, IN. Contact him at:

   11   12   13   14   15