In my last post, space prevented an expansive discussion of the concepts of BATNA and WATNA (also known as BATNO and WATNO). These are concepts used in mediation to persuade parties to think of the financial consequences of not settling on the day. Literally, BATNA means “best alternative to not agreeing”, whilst WATNA means “worst alternative to not agreeing”. The idea is to work out the best and worst case scenarios for the client in financial terms if they don’t make a deal.
Of course the best case scenario should serve as a base line for an offer at settlement: rationally, a client should accept any offer meeting that figure since they cannot do any better by not agreeing and, say, continuing to litigate. They should also probably accept a deal that is worse than the BATNA since there is a risk that the outcome could be the WATNA, or something in between, if there is no agreement.
Paul Duggan has written an enlightening post on the issue (pun intended – you will see what I mean!) that I recommend to all readers.
Mediation approaching? Care for a back-to-basics checklist beforehand? Then look at Mark McKillop’s recent blog “Ten Tips about Mediation” (link below).
But first let me top up Mark’s top ten with two extras – the twin concepts of ‘BATNO’ and ‘WATNO’.
In approximately 36 A.D. a notorious persecutor of Christians was travelling from Jerusalem to Damascus. Out of the blue (literally) he was knocked to the ground, blinded by a brilliant light and asked by a booming voice “Why do you persecute me so?” The traveller repented, recovered his sight and went on to a brief but spectacular career as St Paul, arguably the most famous convert, evangelist and martyr Christianity has ever produced.
How is this relevant to preparing for a mediation?
It absolutely isn’t. Damascus Road conversions never happen in mediations.
And yet it seems a rare mediation indeed that does not involve at least one party apparently banking…
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