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Lauren Hawkins On The Art of Negotiation

Partner for Husch Blackwell and 417-land native, Lauren Hawkins shares her no-nonsense tips for making the deal and navigating change.

by Ren Bishop

Sep 01 2022 at 8 a.m.

Lauren Hawkins of Husch Blackwell
Photo courtesy Husch BlackwellLauren Hawkins is a partner at Husch Blackwell

Biz 417: What is your first step in navigating a difficult negotiation?
Lauren Hawkins: Hands down, preparation. In approaching any negotiation, my goal is to be the most prepared person in the room. That involves doing my diligence, collaboration with my client and truly understanding my client’s business and the issues that they are facing.

Biz: When the stakes are so high, how do you both lead and receive direction from a client?
L.H.: The client is in charge at all times. My role is to listen to their goals and objectives and advise them on both the risks and potential alternatives to a proposed course of action.  The client then makes an informed decision, and I both advocate for them and assist in implementing that decision.

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Biz: American Airlines is one of your commercial contracting clients, who you help draft, review and negotiate critically important contracts. You also support small businesses as outside general counsel. Why is it important for you to maintain a diverse roster of clients?
L.H.:
I love the southwest Missouri area—this is my home! I do have several clients that are outside of this area, but I am always thrilled to bring in clients that I can assist locally. I’ve found that many don’t realize the bench strength that is right here in Springfield that Husch Blackwell has to assist our local clients. What is really wonderful about practicing with Husch Blackwell is that if I don’t have the particular expertise to answer to a client’s nuanced legal question, I know someone that does. With more than 800 attorneys nationwide, we have an extremely deep bench with hundreds of excellent attorneys with a wide variety of specialty subject matter expertise. This allows us to handle just about any matter or client issue that you can think of efficiently from start to finish right here in southwest Missouri.

Biz: Working anywhere in any office involves negotiating conflicts, merging teams and acquiring projects. What advice do you give your clients on how to handle structural change that may help all of us?
L.H.:
Planning and preparation are key to ensuring a smooth transition in any type of structural change. Having a sense of humor, staying positive and being flexible and willing to adapt to change all go a long way to making sometimes difficult projects or a planned (or unplanned) structural change bearable.

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