What Family Lawyers are Really Doing When They Negotiate

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Andrea Schneider at Marquette University Law School has a forthcoming article with disconcerting but not surprising conclusions, What Family Lawyers are Really Doing When They Negotiate. From the abstract:

After discussing what skills are needed for effective negotiation behavior, the Article then looks more closely at how family lawyers in particular are negotiating. Examining some troubling data, this Article finds that family lawyers appear to be more adversarial and less problem-solving than other types of practitioners - even though their field of law, which involves emotion-laden disputes and ongoing relationships, seems to call for more problem-solving and a less adversarial approach. This article concludes by discussing why this might be so and what the family law bar and family law professors should do in the future to address this problem.

Available at SSRN. As the author points out, perhaps in part this is due to more easy middle class cases going pro se, leaving the messy ones to the divorce lawyers. See Indiana Law Blog post from October 7, 2007, "More often than not, in civil courts these days lawyers are being replaced by their own clients" here. Clearly, though, there is much improvement to be had and better and more CLE in negotiating is needed. Thanks to Geoff Sharp of Mediator blah...blah...for alerting DLJ to the article.