Working with an Attorney—the Time to Negotiate is Before you Start

By | December 21, 2013

The time to negotiate is before you start

The August 2013 issue of ADA New Dentist News (ADA new dentist members, look for your copy wrapped around the Aug 19 issue of ADA News) features a story on working with an attorney. Two ADA members who are both licensed dentists and licensed attorneys spoke about how dentists can work effectively with lawyers.

We weren’t able to fit all of the tips into the print piece – here’s something that we are sharing exclusively on the blog. Dr. Lillian Obucina, pointed out that a little advice from an attorney early on can save headaches later. Here’s Dr. Obucina: 

“I see a lot of associates in situations where there is nothing in writing, and there’s a lot of risk with that. I was just talking with an associate-dentist who worked for an owner-dentist for three years. He had said he would let her buy in when he was ready to retire, and now he’s changed his mind. I asked where the contract was and she didn’t have anything—there was no contract.

“At this point there’s no negotiation because the relationship has gone sour. The time to negotiate is before you start. If there is something that is important to you, whether it’s salary or the chance to buy into the practice or a restrictive covenant, don’t assume that you can negotiate those things later on, go ahead and spell that out in writing before you begin. That’s when you have the leverage.

“Sometimes I hear, ‘I can’t bring this up now or I won’t get the position.’ And my response to that is, ‘Maybe that’s for the best. If you can’t be in agreement about this matter that is important to you, then it is probably better to look for a different opportunity.’”

To find more suggestions about working with an attorney, check out the latest edition of ADA New Dentist News.