Negotiating fees

Negotiation Skills

Shearman & Sterling’s success is built on their clients’ success. They have a long and distinguished history of supporting their clients wherever they do business, from major financial centers to emerging and growth markets.

They represent many of the world’s leading corporations and major financial institutions, as well as emerging growth companies, governments and state-owned enterprises, often working on ground-breaking, precedent-setting matters. With a deep understanding of their clients’ businesses and the industries they operate in, their work is driven by their need for outstanding legal and commercial advice.


We designed this negotiating training for business services in the firm, specifically focussing on negotiating vendor contracts.


The need was to develop negotiation training that would practically help the participants with their day to day work.

“When we last spoke you mentioned that it would be useful to send through an example of the kind of contracts we negotiate with our vendors. I attach an example of a standard T&C we often receive.”


The agenda covered the following areas:

  • Introduction & objectives.
  • Participant experiences & challenges of negotiating contracts.
  • What is negotiating and what is negotiable?
  • When do we negotiate & what are the opportunities to negotiate?
  • What can negotiation achieve?
  • Pre workshop task – Contract analysis opportunities & what’s missing!
  • Participants’ situations & analysis.
  • Critical factors v less important factors.
  • Situation tradable factors.
  • Long term v short term goals.
  • Role of Personalities in negotiating.
  • Relationship lifecycle.
  • Collaborative v competitive negotiating.
  • Assumptions – the negotiator’s curse!
  • Agreeing negotiation objectives.
  • Planning your negotiation.
  • The supplier’s perspective.
  • Workshop summary & personal actions


The participants all left with specfic actions.

Here are some examples:

“I’m going to try the open questions technique at renewal time.”

“I’m going to insert clauses to review the contract regardless of length of term moving forward. I will do this for the pension contract (if I decide to sign the updated one)”

“I’m going to review the pension contract to ensure it is not one sided and protects the firm’s interest.”

“Compare quotes more objectively; don’t just assume that this is the price.”

“Give measurable targets and set Return on Investment goals to review success.”

“Remember to separate business from personal!”

“Use open questions to negotiate before signing the contract for the alumni party.”

“Compare quotes more and use the competitor analysis to view advantages/disadvantages.”

Participant Feedback

“Thanks for today!”

“Very practical course.”

“I’m going to use these ideas today!”

“You will be pleased to know I put the skills to practise last night.”

Client Comment

“Very engaging session. Everyone finished with specific actions for their work areas.”