“One cannot serve two masters” is a comment often made by people who are accustomed to or trained in the unilateral representation process. “Winner takes all” or “One client wins and one has to lose” is the accepted norm for most transactions. An attorney once said that he had put together the “perfect” transaction. When asked why he felt that way, he stated that “both parties felt they lost” so it must be good!
Unilateral representation is simple and useful for those who want to “win, whatever the cost.” It’s well suited for those who see every transaction as a potential battleground. Unilateral demands can be made without regard to the impact it may have on the other party. If the other party’s representative slips up and makes a mistake, then you win. However, if it is your representative that makes a mistake, then you lose, and you could lose big, but that’s the nature of the game if you are willing to play it. Unilateral negotiations usually spawn adversaries. Even if you do win in the negotiation process, the losing party may spend time, effort and money to “get even” in the future. Unilateral negotiations can be far more costly to you both in the long run.
Bilateral consulting services, on the other hand, are provided to protect the interest of both parties and to create a “Win/Win” environment for all transactions. When one party makes a demand or request, consideration must be given as to its effect on the other party. A bilateral perspective on issues is much harder to maintain and requires a wealth of knowledge that is not necessary of a unilateral representative. Bilateral services, however, should only be used by those who are willing to be fair and want to see that both parties win. It takes an experienced, well-informed third party, with a sensitivity for fairness, to provide bilateral services.
Win/Lose, Lose/Lose, or even Win/Win transactions will fail if the needs of both parties are not considered in advance of a practice transition. The needs of both sides can only be accomplished through the bilateral transition consulting services provided by AFTCO. Mediators, facilitators, moderators, and arbitrators are terms commonly used to describe the impartial, constructive, and equitable bilateral services provided by AFTCO. We are proud of this identity and welcome the opportunity for you to see the difference for yourself.