Negotiation Ethics For Lawyers: How To Recognize and Respond to “Dirty Tricks” and Bad Faith Tactics

Zach McGee Ted Russell
March 15, 2016
Legal Ethics


Continuing their popular “Negotiation Ethics for Lawyers” series, Ted Russell and Zach McGee explore a fun and extremely useful topic for anyone who negotiates: how should we respond when the other side engages in “dirty tricks” and other bad faith tactics, without violating our own ethical obligations?

Using a hypothetical negotiation between lawyers, the speakers will describe and analyze the most commonly faced “dirty tricks” in negotiation, and explain how easily you can turn the tables. The discussion will deal with tricks ranging from the easily-spotted “Good Cop, Bad Cop” routine and “Take It or Leave It” positioning, to more subtle bad faith tactics such as introducing phony facts and using time tricks.

The program will include an introduction to the key ethics rules that apply when lawyers act as negotiators and to common negotiation techniques and strategies. Both litigators and transactional attorneys will benefit from this program.


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.

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