Who Wins in Settlement Negotiations?

Event Date: Wednesday December 5, 2007
Time: 8:30-10:00 A.M. (Continental Breakfast at 8:00)
Location: Pound Hall 335, Harvard Law School

Russell Korobkin, Professor of Law at UCLA Law School and faculty associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

When lawsuits are resolved out of court, what determines the settlement amount? As a first approximation, the legal merits of the lawsuit matter, of course. Settlements are negotiated in the shadow of the law. But there is much more to settlement negotiations than the facts of the dispute and the relevant legal rules. Within certain boundaries determined by the nature and strength of the plaintiff’s claim, the plaintiff’s lawyer attempts to obtain every dollar that the defendant will pay, and the defendant’s lawyer attempts to avoid paying all but the most minimal amount.

In his presentation, Professor Korobkin will present results from a new bargaining experiment that attempts to identify the factors that can be assessed prior to the beginning of bargaining that determines who wins and who loses this battle. The specific context of this experiment is settlement bargaining, but the insights generated are applicable to any two-party negotiation that has an important distributive dimension.

Russell Korobkin is a professor of law at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he teaches Negotiation, Contracts, and Health Care Law. This semester, he is visiting professor at Harvard Law School, where he is currently teaching the Negotiation Workshop.

In addition, he regularly teaches abbreviated negotiation courses at universities in the United States, Europe, and Australia, conducts negotiation training workshops for lawyers, and provides mediation services.

Professor Korobkin is the author of the textbook Negotiation Theory and Strategy (Aspen Law & Business, 2002) and more than 40 scholarly articles on negotiation and other topics, including Roadblocks to the Road Map: A Negotiation Theory Perspective on the Past Failures and Future Prospects of Land for Peace (Yale Journal of International Law), Psychological Barriers to Mediation Success (Ohio State Journal of Dispute Resolution), Aspirations and Settlement (Cornell Law Review), and A Positive Theory of Legal Negotiation (Georgetown Law Journal).

Before entering law teaching, he received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Stanford University, clerked for the Honorable James L. Buckley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and worked as an associate at the law firm of Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C.

Please RSVP to swhitman@law.harvard.edu.


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