Imagine a contract that
- stimulates and supports rapid return to alignment and productivity in the face of unexpected change
- inspires side-by-side problem-solving rather than adversarial confrontation when parties disagree
- learns with the business as it navigates the ever-changing, digital-speed, modern marketplace.
Discovering Agreement is an innovative approach to generating legally enforceable documents that embed responsive, resilient operating systems into contractual relationships. This practical, easily implemented process empowers parties to build sustainable business relationships, replacing the old-style foundation of distrust and adversarial posturing with one of alignment and affinity – without sacrificing either party’s power or credibility.
Using the Discovering Agreement model, parties create documents that support and sustain agile, adaptable business relationships aligned with the core vision and values of the parties. This model provides a safer, more stable and trustworthy foundation for framing and conducting business relationships, enabling parties to create stronger, more sustainable and enjoyable ventures that can endure and prosper in the midst of disagreement or crisis.
With engaging prose, personal stories, real-life examples, and practical guides for conducting negotiations and drafting agreements, Discovering Agreement empowers readers to generate immediate, positive change in their legal interactions and in how the legal system impacts their business relationships. When put into practice, Discovering Agreement has the added potential of catalyzing long-term, systemic change in the legal system itself.
Praise for Discovering Agreement
"In this delightfully readable and important book, Linda Alvarez shows us how to transcend the narrow confines of conventional thinking about contracts and contract law to carve out a new approach based on value creation, sustainability and resilience. This can help us attain the much desired but seldom attained "simplicity on the other side of complexity" that the famed jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. spoke of. I expect that the ideas put forth inDiscovering Agreement are essential to building and leading conscious businesses."
—Raj Sisodia, Professor, Babson College
Co-Founder & Co-Chairman of the Board, Conscious Capitalism
Co-Author, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
"If we seek peace and community in the world, strangely enough, lawyers will lead us there, specifically through the restorative framework and movement. “Discovering Agreement” is a brilliant book. One basic insight is that if we can look at, versus look through, the framework in which we create contracts and disputes, it changes everything. The shift from prediction and control, to sense and respond, is decisive. The author writes easily about a worldview whose ideas are grounded and accessible. The book changes the way we connect with each other, and comes at this from the backdoor, where your lawyer is your best friend, and the best friend of those you thought were on the other side. Six stars in a five star world."
—Peter Block, Consultant, Author, and citizen of Cincinnati
Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest
The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work
The Answer to How is Yes: Acting On What Matters
An Other Kingdom
"Linda Alvarez’s conflict resolution method in her groundbreaking book, Discovering Agreement, has been an endless source of guidance for my startup team here at Wevorce. I expect Linda’s book will soon become required reading for every entrepreneur. Gone will be the habitual, lethal spiral of confrontation that often goes hand-in-hand with disputes in the fast-paced, pressure cooker world of startup entrepreneurship. Instead, a road-tested, reliable, legally enforceable alternative that generates a positive and productive path will take its place. This conscientious new path will inspire greater creativity and productivity, resilience in the face of conflict and change, and an end to the pitfalls and molasses-slow pace of conventional legal practices."
—Michelle Crosby, Founder & CEO, Wevorce
"I’ve been eagerly awaiting this resource and it was so worth the wait! I travel around the world, talking and training about this new way of approaching contracts. It is a hot topic among the most cutting-edge lawyers and, when smart clients learn it is an alternative, they ask for it. For years, Linda Alvarez has been a colleague and my top resource for this way of thinking about agreements. At last, she is sharing her wisdom with others, opening up a new horizon for sustainable agreements that encourage integrity and creativity! I will be recommending it to everyone I know"
—J. Kim Wright, Trainer and Leader in Global Integrative Law Movement
Author, Lawyers As Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law
"Linda Alvarez’s readable and thoughtful book is a marvel. It focuses on contracts and disputes – staple articles of law practice – and gives many valuable insights and a fresh perspective on how lawyers and clients should approach them. She articulates how conscious practices by lawyers and clients can improve contract formation — which she explains as the building and structuring of relationships within legal frameworks — as well as the anticipation and handling of conflicts that arise from them. She challenges complacency in a world of brittle negotiations and disputes, providing not only lofty principles but detailed practical advice for immediate and effective reform. It is a must-read both for lawyers who need to step back from their daily grind to find more satisfying outcomes for their clients (and themselves) and for law students who can compare this fresh approach with the traditional concepts about negotiation, contracts, and disputes that they are learning in law school. And it may also bring more happiness and professional fulfillment to practitioners who adopt its approach."
—Andrew P. Bridges, Fenwick & West LLP
Partner Litigation, Co-chair Copyright Litigation
"Law students rave about Discovering Agreement. It gives them permission to think big, to expand their vision of what it means to be a lawyer, to reignite the creativity and optimism that led them to pursue a legal education.
'We lawyers sometimes forget,' writes Linda Alvarez, 'how much leeway the parties have to design their own legal systems.' Her book is a reminder and a path-breaking guide for how parties can use contracts not as 'weapons of war,' but as catalysts for peace. Discovering Agreement is also a tool for empowerment and self-determination. It invites us to relinquish the image of transactional lawyers as cogs in a machine, driven by fear and risk aversion, replacing it with a vision of lawyers as constructive collaborators. Alvarez embodies 'mindfulness in action' at its best: she models humility, integrity, and deep wisdom as practices that can be integrated into the core commitments of a professional life. A must read for any lawyer, law professor or law student who wishes to join the movement that is turning legal profession into a compassionate, enlightened calling."
—Shari Motro, Professor of Law
University of Richmond
"Entering into a business arrangement doesn’t have to be only about defining and protecting obligations and rights. Often it's the start or the continuation of a relationship that is important to both or all parties and will continue to be while the agreement is performed. Doesn't it make sense to be transparent about the underlying motivations and needs up front? Linda Alvarez explores a progressive approach to negotiating agreements, and particularly dispute mechanisms and mindsets that go beyond traditional ADRs. Her book takes the concepts of interest-based negotiations described in Getting to Yes, and brings them to a new generation. As she says: 'Transparency, long considered an undesirable vulnerability, is now virtually inevitable.'"
—Stewart Hirsch J.D., Business Development and Executive Coach, and Managing Director, Strategic Relationships LLC
"Linda Alvarez's book, Discovering Agreement provides a framework for thinking about contract drafting in a radically different light. Rather than using contracts to place all risk on the opposing side and starting the conversations from this narrow and limited space, she beautifully illustrates how contracts can be used to enrich and deepen our relationships with others. We can use the contract drafting process to explore our own values as well as the values of the other party so that the contract becomes the tool we use to see where our values are aligned and misaligned. Linda’s view of contract drafting offers hope for bettering our profession and consequently, society as a whole."
—Jeena Cho, Attorney and Author
The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation