BATNA doesn’t get you to settlement or resolution – instead, looking for answers does –

BATNA is an acronym that stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. It is defined as the best or most advantageous alternative that a negotiating or mediating party can take or has if negotiations and reaching settlement or resolution are failing or are not moving forward and if it is believed that settlement is breaking down cannot be reached. BATNA was presented in the book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (first published in 1981), and it continues to be used as a consideration that a negotiating or mediating party can and should use when deciding whether or not to engage in negotiation or mediation, or whether or not to continue negotiating or mediating when things seem to have stalled or reached an impasse.

Whereas considering BATNA (i.e., why a party should negotiate or keep negotiating) is a good means of moving the parties or a party back from a precipice or position wherein negotiations or mediation breakdown or breakdown at least temporarily, BATNA doesn’t get you to settlement – instead, moving beyond or back from BANTA, being openminded, continuing to explore options, looking for answers, considering the negatives and unknowns, and moving forward toward resolution do move the parties toward settlement and resolution or at least in part on some of the issues.

Thus, the parties, and the mediator need to consider the toolbox of options, and approaches and ways for the parties to continue talking and moving forward from the current position and from their current positions toward resolution or resolutions.

Parties can move off of their positions – or can be willing or induced to move off of their positions, by any number of means, such as, for example:


Moving within the or their perceived global range of options;

Expanding the or their global range of options;

Disclosing or making known more about or what was previously known about their global range of options;

Force or threat, so to speak;

Changed circumstances;

Optics or disclosure to or about outside stakeholders or influencers;

Additional examination, discovery, evidence or related information, documents, or disclosure;

Additional understanding about the applicable law, burdens of proof, and presumptions;

Additional information about the possible trier of fact; and

More – that is, the long list depends on the particular situation at issue.

Best to you. David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)


Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.

Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

My two blogs are:

Business, D&O, audit committee, governance, compliance, etc.

Trust, estate, conservatorship, elder and elder abuse, etc. litigation and contentious administrations

Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only

Litigation, Disputes, Mediator & Governance: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Workplace, Investigations, Compliance, Authority, Responsibilities, Rights and Liability, Other Areas