Don Philbin

Don Philbin

Don Philbin, J.D., M.B.A., LL.M., is an AV-rated attorney-mediator, adjunct professor of law, curator of, and president of Picture It Settled®. Picture It Settled® is Moneyball for negotiation. Our behavioral software has learned negotiating patterns from parties to thousands of litigated cases in a wide variety of jurisdictions and claim types. It uses that intelligence to make accurate predictions of where a negotiating round is headed in time for parties to act on that intelligence using the program’s planning tools. The planning tools allow users to fine-tune their target settlement and project what impact a particular move might have on the round before making it. The result is more settlements on more advantageous terms.

Don was named the 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for Mediation in San Antonio by Best Lawyers®, was recognized as the 2011 Outstanding Lawyer in Mediation by the San Antonio Business Journal, is one of seven Texas mediators listed in The International Who’s Who of Commercial Mediation, and is repeatedly listed in:The Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in San Antonio, and the U.S. News and Best Lawyers “Best Law Firm” survey. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, the American Academy of Civil Trial Mediators, and the Texas Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.


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Articles and Video:

The Psychology of Bad Economic Decisions (05/09/16)
In this short piece, I describe a few ways that disputing parties and their lawyers systematically depart from rational decision making. Along the way, I offer tips on how to get productive settlement discussions back on track after being derailed by our all-too-human psychology.

Book Review: Short and Happy Guide to Mediation (06/03/14)
Will Pryor's 'Short and Happy Guide to Mediation' is both. You can read it in a sitting, and probably will. But it covers the waterfront too. Pryor teaches the latest negotiation theory, but the focus is decidedly on applying it in practice. The book not only helps neutrals, it helps parties and their advocates better utilize the process to maximize results.

From Don Philbin (10/14/13)
Thanks for 500 issues! In a diffused industry, it’s nice to have a few bright stars cultivating new ideas and best practices. You do that through the newsletter and websites. Here’s to another 500!

From Don Philbin (10/11/11)
Congratulations to our friends at on the 400th issue of The Weekly! Not only do you provide us with great content, but with a sense of community. And there's the well linked directory too. Keep up the good work -- for at least another 400 issues.

Cognitive Errors In Ligation (05/17/10)
As a student of decision errors in litigation, I was happy to see another empirical study come out this week confirming what we already know with increasing confidence – even well-trained lawyers are subject to the cognitive errors that throw humans’ calibrations off target. We all have to be confident to get out of bed. Parties assigned to buy or sell a house, car, or lawsuit reach different valuations depending simply on which side of the trade they are assigned. And if we think we have some measure of control over the outcome, of course our chances of reaching it are increased. Add to that the ethical obligation of zealous advocacy and you have the caldron from which overly optimistic case assessments flow.

Decisional Errors – On the Field, On the Bench, In Negotiations (11/03/09)
The question is not whether humans make decisional errors, but how to compensate for them in negotiation and mediation.