Lawyer and Nonlawyer Susceptibility to Framing Effects in Out-of-Court Civil Litigation Settlement

Belton, Ian, Thomson, Mary and Dhami, Mandeep (2014) Lawyer and Nonlawyer Susceptibility to Framing Effects in Out-of-Court Civil Litigation Settlement. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 11 (3). pp. 578-600. ISSN 1740-1461

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Settling a legal dispute out of court is typically a good result for both parties. However, many disputes do not settle: the presence of cognitive biases, such as those observed through framing manipulations, is thought to be one of the many reasons for settlement failure. The present study used quantitative and qualitative data to compare the impact of a gain- or loss-framed hypothetical civil litigation scenario on settlement decisions made by lawyers and other nonlawyer professionals. A significant effect of framing was found for both groups. As predicted, both nonlawyers and lawyers were much more likely to settle their claim in the gain scenario than in the loss scenario. This finding was supported by the qualitative data: risk-averse comments were more frequent in the gain frame whereas risk-seeking statements were more common in the loss frame. There was also evidence that lawyers may be less affected by framing than nonlawyers, although a smaller difference was observed than in previous studies. In addition, lawyers were more likely than nonlawyers to consider the expected financial value of the litigation in making their decision. We discuss the implications of these results and suggest avenues for future research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Mary Thomson
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2015 10:29
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 09:50

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