January 21, 2020 Boot Camp, Esq.

Ask Allison

Allison Jackson Mathis

Dear Allison,

How do I negotiate with a prosecutor? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I’m still kind of new to this and, even though I’ve handled a good amount of cases, I just feel awkward when I’m negotiating—like I either get too loud or I’m too much of a pushover, and I get upset when they give me what I think is a bad offer. When I don’t have anything to negotiate with, when the law and facts are both against me, how am I supposed to ask for a better deal? What do I do?

Yours,

First Offer Freddie

Dearest, Darling Freddie,

I once knew a wise older prosecutor who told me not to take a young, overzealous prosecutor’s ridiculous first offers personally. “What do you mean?” I sneered, “It’s always personal if it’s my client.” And then I stormed off, feeling righteous and indignant.

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