The role of lawyers is to evaluate cases and try to predict the most likely outcome.  To attract and win clients, arguably they must do so with confidence. A recent study of the accuracy of those predictions, however, contends that lawyers are often over-confident and overly optimistic in their assessments of a client's case.

The study, published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law in the USA, revealed that the more confidence a lawyer expressed in his or her ability to achieve a possible result, the more likely he or she was to be fail to achieve those results.

  • Would this apply here in the UK? In Scotland? What about predictions in the course of mediation?

  • Risk analysis is central to guiding a client through negotiations. And, often, each legal team is advising its client that it has better than even prospects of success: so, perhaps the outcome of the research is not so surprising? One party, at least, is going to be proved wrong if the matter proceeds to a judicial determination....

  • And a related question or two: why do some firms use mediation more regularly than others and why do some achieve a higher number of successful outcomes than others?

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