Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

The Egocentric and Confirmation Bias Obstacles to Settling Claims

July 2021 Bar Bulletin

By Rick Gautschi

Cognitive illusions, popularly known as cognitive biases, affect everyone. In the realm of litigation, two such illusions, egocentric and confirmation biases, act as impediments to settlement. But one might ask, don’t the overwhelming majority of civil cases end in settlement? If they do, then we have little reason to be concerned about the effects of possible egocentric and confirmation bias on settlement negotiations.

Reflecting the conventional wisdom, thelawdictionary.org claims that, “According to the most recently-available statistics, about 95 percent of pending lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement.” A quick Google search uncovers a substantial number of law firms that agree. A...

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