The use of deception in negotiations has spurred much debate in the legal ethics arena. Ethics are concerned with upholding principles of honesty, fairness and good faith. A lawyer’s use of deceptive negotiation tactics would therefore seem to violate the principles of legal ethics. However, certain deceptive tactics in legal negotiations are viewed as not only acceptable, but even expected as part of the negotiation process. This presents a paradox: how can a lawyer act deceptively but also ethically? This paper explores the degree of deception in negotiations that legal professionals are willing to permit on both an ethical and strategic basis. This paper draws on the rules of legal ethics from different jurisdictions as well as the literature on lying and negotiation, to help demonstrate why reform is needed. Reform of the law society rules would not only to improve the public perception of the legal profession, but better serve individuals who rely on negotiation as a primary means of access to justice.
Regional Winner in Law