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Checkmate: Early Moves Define Negotiation

by Beth Graham
May 2015

Disputing Blog by Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes

Beth Graham

The Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas recently published Don Philbin’s article entitled “Checkmate: Early Moves Define Negotiation Outcomes” in its newsletter.  In his article, the Chair of the Texas Bar’s ADR Section discusses the insight predictive analytics can provide to negotiators. According to Mr. Philbin, negotiations typically follow predictable social conventions and, much like chess, the first few moves are likely to set the board.  In addition, advanced analytics suggest:

  • Anchoring is important;
  • Extreme positions sometimes pay off but don’t work most of the time;
  • Mediators reduce cognitive dissonance;
  • Venue matters;
  • Claim type matters;
  • Predictive analytics offer insight; and
  • Highly accurate projections render such insight actionable.

 
Mr. Philbin concludes his article by stating:

Big data and smart analytics will rapidly extend what experimental psychologists, behavioral economists, and other disciplines have learned about predictable if seemingly irrational human behavior.

Current technology allows us to play Battleship with sonar in negotiations. Knowing with some certainty where the other side is headed in time to improve your position through a research based, fine-tuned concession plan will improve your results. It’s not a substitute for well-honed intuition developed through experience. It’s an aid to test and calculate optimum positions. It’s really nothing more than adding a scope to a gun so the human takes a better shot. A 5% improvement to a $10 million case is worth $500,000. That’s worth some planning.

Disputing invites you to check out Don Philbin’s full article.

Biography


Beth Graham received a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2004 and a M.A. in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri in 2006. She also holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and the District of Columbia.



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