Negotiation Ethics for Lawyers: Hollywood Edition (Part Two)

Zach McGee
December 02, 2023
Legal Ethics


In the latest installment in the popular “Negotiation Ethics for Lawyers” series, Zach McGee switches gears to show how negotiations are portrayed in some popular films. In Part Two, our subject is the remarkable film “Thank You for Smoking” starring Aaron Eckhart as slick lobbyist, Nick Naylor, who represents the tobacco industry. In this film, Nick masterfully twists words, reframes others' positions, questions their intentions and engages in other sharp tactics to defend his clients and attack their enemies. Nick is the sort of adversary that you hope never to face in a negotiation, but at some point in your career, you're likely to find yourself sitting across the table from a Nick Naylor-type. In this program, Zach illustrates why Nick’s negotiation tactics are so effective, discusses whether they violate the legal ethics rules, and suggests how you might respond if these sorts of tactics are used on you in a negotiation. Rules covered include: ABA Model Rules 1.3, 4.1 & 8.4; Cal. Business & Professions Code Sec. 6068.



Zachary S. McGee, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA

Zach McGee is a Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, for Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles where he negotiates distribution deals for feature films and television series. Before joining Sony Pictures, Zach held senior in-house legal positions at NBCUniversal and Miramax. Zach began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and as an associate with DavisPolk in New York, New York, and Menlo Park, California. 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 is also a successful entrepreneur and founder of educational content companies in the legal space.

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