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A Life of Negotiation. The Law And The Lawyer, Our Friend?

A Life of Negotiation

Chapter 8: The Law And The Lawyer, Our Friend?

Negotiation is like a game:

every game has its rules,

there are winners and losers,

there are friends and there are opponents.

But you should never forget that

there is a third faction that is also very important

because they hold the final outcome of the game.

When you enter an international game like a negotiation,

for example,

you will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people,

all kinds of nationalities,

all cultures, all kinds of reasoning,

and finally all kinds of tricks to gain

withdraw from the factions sitting opposite!

As soon as you sit at the conference table,

you will immediately see the situation that is going to unfold.

Groups of people huddled together,

waiting for the conference to begin.

Each group is a faction.

This is the interpreter side.

You should not underestimate this faction,

they are both your ears and mouth.

If you do not understand any words in German or Portuguese,

then you must give all your lives to this group of people.

Interpreters on both sides can decide the winner or loser,

because they speak a language you don’t understand.

If they mistranslate,

you will hardly succeed!

If they only stumble once,

sometimes the atmosphere of the meeting is not tinged

with sympathy anymore.

From there a feeling of coldness spreads

and will be able to slowly bring the conversation

under negotiation down to despair.

Another faction that is not difficult to recognize is the bank,

with delegates always dressed very neatly,

with a very “family” style.

They often wear black suits,

wearing black or dark blue ties,

looking very proper.

They don’t talk much,

they just listen.

When it’s their turn to speak,

they only say a few sentences as a rule.

Why is that?

Friends, people working in banks are very “psychological”.

If they don’t keep their mouths shut but use big words,

when anyone wants to borrow money from them,

it will be difficult for them to refuse.

On the contrary,

they watch the meeting attentively,

assess each risk,

observe each character,

and finally discuss it internally before lending money.

Such deliberation also sometimes makes conference partners skeptical of their abilities.

But honestly,

would you do the same thing

if you were going to have to lend $400 million?

Then you shouldn’t blame them

for having a great team at the conference without saying a word.

And yet,

sitting at the negotiating table next to the opposing sides,

there are consultants and “fan mo” military advisors.

These people are numerous.

I acknowledge their great,

sometimes profound,


but I always find them repulsive,

for a very simple reason.

That’s because while all the partners sitting

around the conference table come to negotiate with their own

(or the company’s) money,

the consultants are like a bunch of suckers.

Every hour they sit and play like that is every hour

you have to pay them,

regardless of whether they listen or doze off.

You go to sell or buy goods,

your time

and effort is an investment

that is not known to be amortized or not,

but they just come and get paid.

Get angry sometimes!

In important negotiations,

I know that there are delegations that only go to negotiate

if they are accompanied by a fortune teller.

Which is the psychic,

which is the fortune teller.

When the opponent finished speaking,

he went back to consult the fortune teller.

The story seems to be a joke but it is true,

at critical moments,

just before speaking,

the other side will sow hexagrams!

This kind of negotiation is quite boring.

Sometimes I feel bad,

but I know how to react!

Among those who assume the advisory role in the negotiating team

is a special person,

that is,

a lawyer,

who is responsible for enlightening members on domestic and foreign laws.

Each country has a different legal system,

has its own custom,

and has a special way of adjudicating.

Lawyers are the ones who show us how the legal corridor is.

But the team had to leave the team,

the side had to join the side,

from the interpreter to the bank,

everyone accepted their side.

However, in all my negotiating life,

I have never seen my team’s attorney actually take sides!

Sometimes they stand on the side of paying their salaries,

sometimes they just side with the law

and let the two sides face off.

Sometimes they even sided with the “enemy side”

and warned that “our side” was more eloquent than the enemy!

It means they play multiple roles

– lawyers are fine,

but they also play judges.

Also, when using the services of a lawyer,

you should be careful!

In small negotiations,

we sometimes think

it is unnecessary to have a lawyer present.

For example,

when buying or selling a used car,

the seller and the buyer only talk about the selling price,

the purchase price.

That’s all,

but there are many unfortunate cases.

What is the case where the car breaks down right after buying it

or the buyer suddenly discovers that

the car has been stolen

but sometimes the seller himself does not know!

So how to solve?

Even in the details of such a car sale,

the presence of people familiar with the law was needed.

So imagine if you are the buyer of a filtered water factory,

what responsibilities will you bear,

how will you negotiate the contract?

Can you predict all possible contingencies?

For example,

every day he goes to France,

every day I visit him in New York.

Yet ten days later you will receive a $3,000 bill!

You send them a letter in Vietnamese.

Before replying to you,

they have a duly sworn interpreter translate your letter before they respond.

Each translation page will cost at least 100 USD.

Don’t you agree?

They also disagree,

because the official reason

they give is that the pages

you write have no legal meaning

without a content visa attorney!

Just translating is already terrible!

So you’re “done”,

because even though they are acting as your lawyer,

they take away your role as judge!

I myself once boldly kicked them out

and they sued my company,

with the evidence that

we kicked them out without clear evidence,

causing them business losses.

Only then did I “fall back”:

they worked with me for their own business,

not the best for serving customers.

Their rights are only available

when they do not touch their interests.

That’s different in France,

where lawyers pride themselves on a purely consulting role.

I only have one piece of advice:

consider carefully

when using the services of a lawyer.

Don’t repeat the lessons

I’ve stumbled upon.

* * *

In addition to the lawyer,

you must also pay attention to the laws of the country

where you are negotiating.

If you want to use an intermediary in a negotiation,

you should avoid speaking

if you are not in Switzerland.

Swiss law allows doing business with an intermediary,

so it is safe to speak.

In the US,

the law allows lobbying,

roughly translated as “lobbying”.

Don’t do anything more than that,

or you will go to jail.

And if you have clever tactics,

half legal

and half illegitimate,

you should “go to the forest” of a slow-moving country,

where talking about the “law of the jungle” is fun and exciting!

Do not be mistaken

when you produce “fake” imitations of Louis Vuitton wallets,

Bordeaux wines,

Lancôme perfumes without a lawyer.

Fake is still fake,

but when it comes to conflicts of interest,

you should still have at least one “jungle lawyer” by your side.

Unless someone threatens you with a gun,

in all other cases the presence of a lawyer will save you trouble.

Because even though there are “forest” commitments,

working in the “forest”,

between “forest” people,

each faction involved in the transaction must recognize that

there is a special type of arbitrator

if unfortunately the partners disagree,

or there is a faction that does not honor solemnly acknowledged commitments.

What better than a lawyer to play this arbitrator,

even if it is a “forest” referee?

Then if you want to talk about dominating prices,

manipulating the market with anti-competitive schemes,

you should not sit at the conference table in the European market.

Just had to go to prison,

just fined a small amount of 100 million euros!

Who will remind you of the things to avoid,

the careful preparations to make if not your lawyer?

If you sign a contract to recognize that the judge may be Arab,

you should at least read through Arabic culture.

Suppose you read Arabic law,

are you sure you will understand anything?

Or do you need someone to show you the way to behave

so that when you stand

in front of an Arab judge,

you are still wise enough to overcome this legal hurdle?

Better yet,

an attorney can take your place in the courtroom.

And if you choose the lawyer as a close friend of the judge,

I’m sure your risk will be somewhat reduced.

Remember not to complain,

because lawyers like that are expensive.

But maybe a severe trial

without this lawyer’s support won’t send you

to some distant hellish underworld,

which of course is much worse!

There is a trap that

the inexperienced often fall into is forgetting to choose a place of trial.

Take a typical example that

you agree this place must be the capital of Stockholm in Sweden.

Who doesn’t love Sweden,

if you have the opportunity to accompany, go now!


if the trial goes on for three years,

or longer,

damn it.

You have enough strength,

enough patience to go once a month to Sweden,

stay at the hotel for 10 days each time,

eat without fish sauce,

sleep with thick blankets

because of the cold outside,

every trip takes 13 hours

sit on the plane?

Don’t be foolish! Remember my advice:

For Vietnamese working in the country,

if there is a negotiation or a hearing,

it is always best to choose Hanoi

or Ho Chi Minh City.

Another thing you should know is that

when there is a hot case,

the court always chooses places far away from the “murder” to try.

Where the fire is already burning,

stay away!

As a result, at least the court will remain calm and peaceful,

and will not be pressured

by the crowd booing in the corridor in front of the court.

Knowing in advance

how the law will judge you is also very helpful in building friendships.

The clearer and more detailed the rules of the game,

the less “cheat”.

the law is respecting society,

respecting order,

and oftentimes

it helps to prevent the parties from falling apart forehead head.

Once you play,

you must play by the rules.

If so,

you must understand the law,

but if you want to understand it,

you must have someone to guide you.

So the lawyer is a useful character,

depending on whether we know how to use it or not.

Someone once said that Vietnam has 90 million poets.

But poets only know poetry with me!

And proselytizing poetry is not a guarantee of doing business in a globalized world,

one that has taken for granted the preponderance of anglo-saxon law.

Some people even say that

Vietnamese are not very good at thinking according to the law,

even if we can do something against the law,

we will still be delighted!

In short,

we have a really long road ahead of us,

but even if it’s long,

we still have to go.

Friend, there is no other choice,

trust me.

Things to remember

A lawyer is the person who protects you

or your company most effectively.

Every game has rules,

knowing it will have an advantage.

The laws of different countries have many differences.


when working abroad,

you need the support of a host country lawyer.

When the contract is written incoherently

or weakly in terms of reasoning

or handling the law,

usually the company implementing the contract will encounter problems,

precisely because the contract has loopholes.

On the contrary,

when the contract is written in a strict manner,

the implementation of the contract is less likely

to encounter unreasonable clutter.


the presence of a good,

experienced and dedicated lawyer,

although very expensive,

will avoid many costs because of the risk later.

Your lawyer is seen as your friend.


they are first and foremost friends of the law,

we should not forget.

Business law in accordance

with the British/American legal culture/spirit has been recognized worldwide

as the best standard for international transactions.


you do not have to use a British or American lawyer.

American lawyers are very expensive

and sometimes do not hesitate to put clients in a difficult position.

They work first for themselves,

before working for their clients.

When your company does business with foreign countries,

nothing prevents you from choosing Vietnamese law,

adjudicating in Vietnam with a Vietnamese judge.

However, there is nothing that

prevents you from choosing a foreign law,

adjudicating in a foreign country with a foreign judge.

Both parties to the contract want their own advantages,

that’s understandable.

What you have to remember is that it is unlikely that

Vietnamese law is more favorable.

You have to look at the details of the situation

to come to a conclusion.

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