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What Should You Consider When Hiring a Severance Negotiation Lawyer?

  • By: Sarah Mugmon
    Published: April 29, 2022
Severance agreement lawyer

Lipp Law handles severance negotiations throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia for employers, executives, and employees.

When determining whether to engage a lawyer to represent you in severance negotiations, the following considerations should be addressed:

(1) Whether a lawyer will add value,

(2) Whether the lawyer sets your expectations at the outset, and

(3) Whether the lawyer has discernable relationship-building skills. Below, we dig into these three considerations.

Value Add

For either employers or employees considering whether to retain a lawyer for severance negotiations, it is an important initial step to weigh the benefits and costs of engaging counsel.

For an employer terminating an employee without counsel, your company may need assistance assessing whether the departing employee may have potential claims. The cost of a lawyer’s services to assess your underlying situation and to draft a severance agreement may outweigh potential litigation costs in defending against an employee’s subsequent claims if no severance is offered. You may also wonder whether a severance agreement is even necessary, which a lawyer can help with.

An employee may get value from using a lawyer to review a severance agreement, negotiate terms on their behalf, or both. If you received a severance agreement, you may want the peace of mind offered by a lawyer explaining your rights and obligations under a severance agreement. You may also prefer that a lawyer negotiate the severance terms on your behalf when the separation is contentious or when there are potential legal claims that may be used as leverage for better contract terms.

Proper Expectation Setting for Your Negotiation

If you determine that a lawyer can add value to your severance negotiation, you will want to hire counsel who is responsive to your questions, explains their assessment of your situation in plain, easy to understand terms, and understands your interests and goals. An employment lawyer’s honest analysis of your desired outcome and setting expectations at the outset of a client-attorney relationship is critical. A lawyer’s communication style with you and ability to explain a suggested strategy to advocate on your behalf can provide you with insight into how the lawyer will communicate with others, as well.

Constructive and Professional Communications to the Opposing Side

In negotiations where the emotions of a party, or all parties, are high, relying on counsel to communicate your interests in an approachable way may help. Lawyers are often skilled in putting their client’s interests first while also working cooperatively with an opposing party. There are methods and tactics that a lawyer employs to reach a resolution, including asking the right questions and listening carefully to the other side. By respecting, building trust, and collaborating with the other side, an employment lawyer can help facilitate a deal. You will want to hire an employment lawyer who communicates skillfully, yet amicably.

Separations can be challenging, and the finality of employment termination can leave either or both the employee and employer feeling overwhelmed. In these circumstances, you may benefit from an employment lawyer’s assistance and representation.

Lipp Law provides employment separation counseling, severance agreement reviews, severance agreement drafting, and severance negotiation for employers, executives and employees. If you need assistance with a severance agreement or employment termination issue, do not hesitate to contact Lipp Law today.

Kathryn Megan Lipp

Katie dedicates her practice to employment separation guidance.
Based on her successful employment litigation practice...Read More