Greece: The Lose-Lose Negotiations


Greek Economy NewsIn recent weeks I have been in contact with a lot of law firms as a part of my day job.

In the past when I have spoken to lawyers it always feels as though they negotiate for a living. Whatever it is you want, they counter offer. It is as if it is a part of their DNA.

However, the last few weeks have shown me another side to them. I have been asked by a firm I consult with to sell to lawyers and we are asking them to “make us your best offer”.

The psychology here has been fascinating!

One presumes that since they are so used to rolling people over during negotiations that they refuse to be drawn in. Even when we are asking for their best offer, their “best” is always about one third of what any sensible person would expect to pay. And then we keep receiving the same closing sentence: “That is my final offer”.

In other words, they make a derisory, insulting offer and then refuse to engage in any further discussion. It’s my way or the high way! Needless to say, we have not been accepting any of these insulting offers.

Unlike other sectors where this strategy has worked, it is failing terribly for my client. Lawyers, it seems, refuse to negotiate even when they actually want the outcome being pitched to them. It is slightly bonkers, but appears to be the reality.

Switching this to another track, most politicians have a background in the law. It makes sense after all. The job of a politician is to write and vote on laws. Lawyers would seem to be well suited to that role.

After weeks of stalled negotiations, the clock is counting down on Greece. I am forced to wonder whether the impasse is in part because the politicians on both sides are simply refusing to make progress.

“Pay your debts in full. That is my final offer.”

“No. That is my final offer.”

If this is the reason – I hope not, but it might be – then a Greek default may be even more likely than their financial circumstances suggest. In which case, brace for the coming storm.


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