Ending Cheap Talk in Legal Bargaining

Serving clients generally boils down to assisting them with various forms of bargaining. This includes tacit bargaining, such as when someone claims or does something in an effort to cause someone else to eventually respond in a desired way. It also includes litigation, which in virtually all cases can be understood as simply a form of tacit bargaining.

Several Nobel Prizes have recently been awarded for discoveries relating to what works and doesn’t work in various bargaining contexts. These studies suggest that much of what lawyers do and charge clients for consists of “cheap talk” (with the word “cheap” referring to its lack of value and credibility, rather than to the costs that it inflicts upon clients and society).

This work has led to the development of several legal-tech systems that allow conflicts and negotiations to be resolved at little or no cost and with startling efficiency. This session provides an overview of the work being done in this field and the opportunities and challenges that it presents for clients, for lawyers at all levels of the profession, and for the legal system as a whole.