August 13, 2019

From the Talmud: How Empathy and Curiosity Help Mediators Resolve Disputes

Josh Fruchter
In this latest post on applying Talmudic principles in mediation, we discuss two vital mediation techniques — encouraging empathy and exhibiting curiosity — that emerge from a Talmudic legend concerning Alexander the Great (the Talmud being an ancient Jewish legal text compiled around 500 C.E. that is a primary source..
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July 23, 2019

Five Key Psychological Principles at Play in Mediations

Josh Fruchter
In several of our past blog posts, we’ve referenced various psychological principles applicable in mediations. An awareness of psychological principles can help mediators understand why parties have taken certain positions or why they are behaving in a certain way, as well as anticipate how parties may respond to a mediator’s..
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July 15, 2019

Can Mediators Add Value in the Transactional Context by Rescuing Deals at Risk of Falling Apart?

Josh Fruchter
Traditionally, mediators have helped parties resolve disputes already in litigation. Some of our recent blog posts, however, have discussed how mediators can help nip disputes in the bud before they escalate into litigation in contexts such as estate planning, family businesses, and the workplace. The idea being that lawyers should..
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July 10, 2019

Bracketing in Mediation: When to Use It and Why It Works

Josh Fruchter
Participants in mediations will be familiar with bracketing — a technique widely used by mediators to bridge seemingly insurmountable gaps between what one side is offering and the other side is demanding. Why bracketing works offers a fascinating glimpse into the psychology of negotiation and mediation. Let’s assume a plaintiff..
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July 7, 2019

From the Talmud: Making Peace in Mediation by Giving Others the Benefit of the Doubt

Josh Fruchter
We have previously blogged about applying Talmudic principles in mediation (the Talmud being an ancient Jewish legal text compiled around 500 C.E. that is a primary source of Jewish law and philosophy). This post will explore application of the Talmudic principle known in Hebrew as dan l’kaf zechut, or judging..
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July 2, 2019

Using a High Low Agreement to Counter Confirmation Bias in an Insurance Mediation

David Albalah
My colleague Josh recently blogged about strategies for handling confirmation bias in mediations. He mentioned I had used a high low agreement to successfully address confirmation bias in an insurance-related mediation. I’ll discuss that case in this post. A start-up title insurance agency (funded by a prominent private equity firm),..
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June 26, 2019

Recognizing and Addressing Confirmation Bias in Mediation

Josh Fruchter
As defined by the Farnam Street website, confirmation bias is the “tendency to cherry-pick information that confirms our existing beliefs or ideas.” In other words, after making a decision or reaching a conclusion in which we have a vested interest, we tend to interpret any new evidence in a manner..
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June 19, 2019

From the Talmud: Leveraging Reciprocation Bias in Mediation

Josh Fruchter
The ancient Jewish legal text known as the Talmud (Tractate Baba Metzia 32b) records the following rule: if Mr. A simultaneously encounters a friend who requires assistance unloading a burden from his animal, and an adversary who needs help loading a burden on to his animal, A is obligated to..
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June 5, 2019

From the Talmud: How Can a Mediator Turn Emotional Outbursts Into Opportunities for Resolution?

Josh Fruchter
One of a mediator’s most challenging tasks is managing emotional, high conflict parties. How do you calm them down? Enforce limits on their conduct? Is there value to letting them vent? There are many opinions on the subject. In a previous post, I promised to draw insights from the Talmud..
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May 28, 2019

Principles of Cognitive Dissonance at Play in Mediation

Josh Fruchter
Psychologists tell us that humans prize harmony between their actions and beliefs. Accordingly, when we act contrary to a strong belief, alarm bells go off in the brain, and we feel mental discomfort, or “dissonance.” To eliminate this tension, we can either abandon the belief or change the behavior. To..
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