Thursday, April 20, 2023

Myside Bias Or Self-Interest?

A new report from the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies discuses "myside" bias in litigation where lawyers overestimate their chance of success in the courtroom. 

In a vast majority of disputes, settlement is superior to litigation, which involves uncertainty, legal fees, and opportunity cost. Unnecessary litigation also causes judicial backlog, wastes resources, and increases societal conflict. Major contributors to the lack of settlement are intransigent litigants who harbor overoptimistic predictions of litigation outcomes, even though they are looking at identical facts and applicable law. A study (N = 166) found significant myside bias in the participants' predictions of a judicial award (claimants' advisers expected awards that were 69% higher than defendants' advisers) and in their evaluation of arguments (both sides thought the arguments supporting their side were 30% more convincing than the arguments supporting their counterparty). Debiasing interventions—alerting to the myside bias, considering the perspective of the counterparty and dialectical bootstrapping—reduced the bias but did not eliminate it. Exploratory investigation indicated that a large proportion of advisers exhibited na├»ve realism and bias blind spot, and that cognitive reflection provided a limited measure of resistance to myside bias.

They completely miss the point. Lawyers are biased to prolong litigation because they get more money by doing so. It really is that simple. This is especially true in family law as the lawyers can leverage the often strained relationship between the litigants to prolong the case. 

Of course not every lawyer does this, but I doubt you would fine an honest lawyer who didn't admit that many do. 

Our legal process intensifies lawyers to act unethically and criminally and there is virtually no risk in doing so. Of course it is corrupt. Follow the money as they say. 

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