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Business Communication for Lawyers: Fundamentals of Effective Negotiation

UK Ministry of Justice | Free | Skills Development Series

Course Overview

Negotiation is not only a critical skill for lawyers, it is also a fact of life; every person negotiates something each and every day. An increasing number of interactions require negotiation, and it is fair to say that most decisions – particularly those in business and law – are influenced by a process of back-and-forth negotiation. It’s a basic means of getting what you want to get from others, whether they’re colleagues, clients, friends, partners, officials or strangers.

However, despite its ubiquity, it is not easy to negotiate well. This is because of misunderstandings and a lack of appreciation of the complex human and behavioural forces that underlie the negotiation process. Every negotiation is unique – there are different parties and sets of interests which will inevitably influence the strategy for negotiation – but the foundational elements remain the same.

Through an immersive, practical, real-world case study, this course will help you understand the basic elements of negotiation so you can:

  • Identify the value of an interest-based negotiation strategy;
  • Interpret the importance of cultural awareness in negotiating complex agreements; and
  • Develop a principled negotiation plan using data to your advantage.

Course Testimonials

"I found the course very helpful as negotiation is a skill that ties in well with my work in commercial and contract law. In this industry, the ability to negotiate and see things through the eyes of both parties to a sale agreement or a contract is vital.”

— Wisani Mathebula

"I learnt to be aware of my biases and equally to recognize other people's biases especially in dispute resolution. In litigation practice, very little attention is given to this aspect and I learnt if identified early enough, negotiations and settlement can be achieved early. It was worth every minute.”

— Henry Kariuki

The UK Ministry of Justice is a major government department at the heart of the justice system in the United Kingdom, and the GREAT Legal Services campaign leads our work on promoting UK legal services overseas.

This is the first course offered by the GREAT Legal Services campaign working with Africa Legal, and we want to promote opportunities for collaboration and shared learning between UK legal expertise and our partners in other countries.

To learn more about the GREAT Legal Services campaign, please visit the homepage here. To stay abreast of events and networking opportunities, please follow the GREAT Legal Services LinkedIn page.

Is this course for you?

This course was developed to enhance the communication skills of the modern lawyers by introducing the foundations of principled negotiation and encouraging reflection on current approaches to communicating with stakeholders. The course is designed for lawyers and legal professionals at any level and the tools, templates, case studies and methodologies are broadly applicable to all lawyers.

Course Contributors

Jennifer Chimanga (née Mbaluto)

Partner and Co-Head of East Africa​ at Clifford Chance

Jennifer Chimanga is a Partner and Co-Head of East Africa at Clifford Chance LLP. Based in London, Jennifer has over 15 years’ experience of advising on cross-border M&A and PE transactions and has a particular focus on Africa and the TMT sector. She is dual-qualified in Kenya and in England & Wales.

Jennifer supports a range of the firm’s pro bono clients including Invictus Games Foundation, Hope and Homes for Children, and International Lawyers for Africa.

Prior to joining Clifford Chance, Jennifer was a senior lawyer at a leading Kenyan law firm where her practice focused on cross-border M&A in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jennifer is a Trustee on the Board of AMREF Health Africa UK, the UK affiliate of Africa's leading health charity, AMREF Health Africa.

Dr Gabriel A. Onagoruwa

Partner - Olaniwun Ajayi (UK) LLP

Dr. Onagoruwa chairs the Project Development and Finance Practice. He is a highly experienced transactional lawyer who specialises in energy and infrastructure projects in Africa. His practice focuses on advising development finance institutions, national and international oil companies, commercial banks, multilateral lending agencies, sponsors and developers in relation to large-scale project financings, structured finance, investments and acquisitions across the energy, power, renewables, oil and gas including LNG, petrochemical, mining and real estate sectors. He regularly advises on market leading cross-border transactions in these sectors across Africa.

Prior to Olaniwun Ajayi (UK) LLP, Gabriel was at White & Case and has been recognised as a leading individual for finance in emerging markets by Legal500.

Rebecca Clark

Mediator at IPOS Mediation

Rebecca is an accomplished and highly effective mediator. Rebecca was the Head of Litigation at a large banking institution which resulted in her being awarded Legal Counsel of the Year at the 2013 British Legal Awards partly as a consequence of her novel approach to resolving classes of disputes by mediation, and has been a full-time mediator in the UK since 2016.

Listed as a Leading Mediator in both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, Rebecca mediates a wide range of commercial disputes including shareholder, insolvency, warranty claims, breach of contract and breach of duty.

In June 2022, Rebecca was appointed Chair of the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) which is both a charity promoting the use of mediation and the primary regulatory body for mediators in England and Wales, becoming the first female and first mediator, non-judge to hold this role.

Rebecca is on the IPOS Mediation and CEDR panel and has been a member of the Court of Appeal specialist mediator panel since 2021.

This course is certified by the United Kingdom CPD Standards Office, and may be applicable to individuals who are members of, or are associated with, professional bodies. The course carries 1.5 CPD points.

This course includes:

  • 60 minutes worth of learning with resources for additional study.
  • Discussion forums – meet colleagues from around the world and start to build your professional network.
  • Real-world case studies, practical immersion and scenarios – you will have the opportunity to experience real-world scenarios in applying your learning together with others.
  • Option to save data – switch off the video and download or read the transcript.
  • Ability to access this self-paced course wherever and whenever it suits you.

  • Frequently Asked Questions:

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    Who should take this course? 

    This course is aimed at law students, graduates and junior lawyers in Africa.

    How long will it take me to complete the course?

    The course should take you about one hour, not including optional activities, discussions and extra reading materials. Once you are enrolled in the course, you can work through the content at your own pace. Feel free to access any part of the content at any time.

    How do I access the course?

    This course is free to access. To access the course please sign in to Africa-Legal. If you don’t yet have an account with Africa Legal follow the steps to sign up and then press the enrol button.

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