Confidentiality is Key – Finding Out What the Other Side Wants

Confidentiality is Key – Finding Out What the Other Side Wants

Burns Logan

Have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you simply do not understand your counterpart’s position? Maybe you have been involved in a long-term project with this person and they have never taken this stance before or been so difficult.

In a construction dispute involving time and money, you are not just dealing with your direct counterpart.  You are also dealing with the company’s operations manager, VP,  finance director, other project managers, the president of the company, insurance adjusters, and a host of other people.  These “back table” parties play a huge role in how disputes are resolved, but are often not effectively engaged in the negotiation process.

Construction professionals face these unknowns all of the time. But, sometimes it is impossible to come to an agreement because you cannot find out the true interests of everyone involved.

In order to achieve the BEST outcomes in negotiation it is necessary for all the parties to explore as much relevant information and options as possible.  How can you reach the best deal if you don’t know all the information?

It is often extremely difficult for negotiators to disclose any of their “back table” interests.  Most construction dispute negotiators are taught not to disclose any information which the other side does not already know.     

For example, a drywall subcontractor may be delayed finishing its work because they are having difficulty with their drywall supplier.  The drywall subcontractor does not necessarily want other parties to the project to know it is having difficulty with its supplier.  But, if that information is known, steps can be taken to assist with retaining other suppliers or making payments to get the subcontractor back on track.

Conifac’s legal framework allows the parties to exchange this type of information with the Conifac professional without fear it will be disclosed to anyone else. 

Conifac Provides Confidentiality

Conifac provides its services under an agreement with all parties that Conifac will not disclose information it learns from any party without the express consent of the party who provided the information.  The parties also agree the services are provided under specific state and federal laws which allow for confidential communications in settlement discussion.

What does this mean?

The parties are free to share all of the issues that are impacting their decisions with Conifac without fear that another party will take advantage of the information. 

Conifac professionals are able to have more frank and open discussions to determine real interests.

Many people believe that in order to take advantage of these types of legal protections an attorney must be involved for all the parties.  This is not true.  The legal protections in place for Conifac’s system work whether or not the parties retain an outside attorney.This makes this process available to construction professionals at a much lower cost than ever before.