Negotiation Ethics for Lawyers: Hollywood Edition (Part One)

Zach McGee Ted Russell
April 01, 2016
Legal Ethics


Continuing their popular “Negotiation Ethics for Lawyers” series, Ted Russell and Zach McGee switch gears to show how negotiations are portrayed in some popular Hollywood films. In part one, they tackle “Hotel Rwanda” where the main character, Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, literally negotiates for his life and the lives of his family during the Rwandan genocide. Through his courage – and negotiating skill – Paul was able to save the lives of more than 1,200 people who almost certainly would have died in the conflict.

As we will see in this program, Paul pulls out every negotiation “dirty trick” in the book in an effort to survive amid the horrors he encounters, including:

Appealing to Authority;
Appealing to Fairness/Empathy;
Appealing to Relationship;
Creating a Conflict of Interest;
Delay Tactics;
Depriving the Other Side of Information;
Exploiting Inability to Enforce the Rules;
False Documents;
False Promises;
Feigning Alignment of Interests;
Feigning Strength;
Good Cop/Bad Cop;
Involving Others in Fraud;
Playing to Ego;
Playing to Emotions;
Playing to Sympathy;
Pulling Rank;
Selling Style;
Shaming; and
Using Emotions.

The program will include a review of the key ethics rules that apply when lawyers act as negotiators as well as some useful negotiation techniques and strategies. This program will benefit both litigators and transactional attorneys, as it includes examples drawn from both litigation and deal-making scenarios.


Zach McGee, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA

Ted Russell, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Digital, Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Los Angeles, CA

Zach leads worldwide business affairs for Sony’s home entertainment division. Before moving to Sony, he was the Senior Vice President, Head of Business & Legal Affairs at Miramax, a leading independent film and television studio. Before joining Miramax, Zach was a Vice President, Legal Affairs, with NBC Universal, Inc. Prior to moving in-house, he was an associate with Davis Polk. Zach clerked for the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and he received his Masters of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Zach also has taught negotiation ethics for lawyers as an Adjunct Professor at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University.

Ted negotiates deals for the distribution of film and television content in digital and traditional media. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Litigation, for Fox Entertainment Group, handling all manner of legal problems faced by Fox's film, television, cable, sports and Internet properties. Ted has substantial experience litigating in state and federal courts. He has lectured on topics ranging from electronic discovery to crisis management. But his true academic interest arises in the context of negotiations, and specifically the legal, ethical, and practical limitations imposed on lawyers participating in negotiations. Ted serves as a Lecturer in Law at USC Gould School of Law, where he teaches a course in Negotiation Ethics, and as an Adjunct Professor at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. Before joining Fox in 1998, he was a business and employment litigator at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Contact us

1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone : (888) 826 2898


Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions
© 2021 New Media Legal Publishing, Inc.