Ranch Lesson #5 – Allow Exit Strategies

In Ranch Lesson #4 we discussed how Lynn Tate and I learned to “shamelessly share” information.  Shamelessly sharing allowed us to enjoy a magic ride, primarily in the dairy industry, from 2000 to the financial crises of 2008.  We shared information in real time and because we learned to trust the shamelessly-shared information we were able to move fast.

As the years passed and as our Parmer County, Texas farming operation continued to grow, my reliance on Lynn’s instincts increased.  Some part of my increased reliance on Lynn’s instincts was likely based on the fact that we were both mentored by one of the Underwood Law Firm’s legends, Don Dean.

While Don could be demanding, he was a good teacher and he spent time training many young lawyers.

Over the years Lynn helped Mr. Dean with many lawsuits learning Don was a master of creating and maintaining an “exit strategy,” particularly with files that were close to trial.

Early in the Waggoner Ranch sale negotiations, the group reached a log-jam.  In the middle of the log-jam Lynn called me aside and confirmed our situation.  We were dealing with two lead lawyers who had been dealing with the litigation for decades.  As I was working to develop a letter-of-intent provision, Lynn said:  “He’s Don Dean.  You must allow an exit strategy or we’ll never get anything done.”

After Lynn’s observation and comment that one of the Waggoner lawyers would never be trapped, our negotiation strategy changed.  We made sure to honor the lawyer’s “don’t be trapped” strategies.  Said in a positive way, to get to the closing, we had to continually allow an “exit strategy.”

Permitting the other side of the transaction to retain an appropriate exit strategy allowed us to get to closing.

All the best.

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