Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today
Mediate.com

Money Mediation Redux

by Victoria Pynchon

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

Still riffing off of Geoff Sharp's Money Mediation #1 (where's two big guy?)

I keep telling friends that the following formula is descriptive, not prescriptive, and yet, I don't think I really know what I'm talking about.  

The formula?  In a pure distributive bargain, the case will settle half-way in between the first two reasonable offers.

The belief?  I believe the key phrase here is "reasonable," which is not surprising since the entire practice of the law seems to be precariously balanced atop that single word.

The observation?  For the past three and one-half years of mediation practice I have performed this math equation (I know it's only arithmetic) at the moment I believe the first two reasonable offers have been put on the table.  Often I'll go back to earlier offers -- ones I considered unreasonable.  I generally find that the arithmetic works there too.  Add the offer and the counter.  Divide by two.

I do sometimes say "you seem to be heading toward $X" when the parties are claiming impasse and I'm not buying it.  They seem surprised that I somehow know what they're thinking.

(twilight zone music here)

The Question.   What's the deal with this little formula, taught to me as holy writ by the Mediating the Litigated case people. 

Is it some sort of golden mean or cognitive bias (aha! woke you up Michael Webster in Canada!) 

If any of the following people were to give an answer to this question, I'd be deliriously happy, which just goes to show you just how much I'm procrastinating writing chapter three:

Diane Levin

Geoff Sharp (the "coalface" perspective)

Anyone at Indisputably.

Richard Rueben (who in any event owes me a phone call) at U. of Mo. (my social psych guru)

Biography


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 



Email Author
Website: www.settlenow.com

Additional articles by Victoria Pynchon