Don't Believe Everything You Think: Cognitive Bias In Legal Decision Making

8 Clinical L. Rev. 783 (2002-2003)

Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2779670

52 Pages Posted: 14 May 2016

See all articles by Ian Weinstein

Ian Weinstein

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

This article discusses the role of cognitive bias in legal decision making. Drawing on research in cognitive science and law, it explores the impact of cognitive bias on both lawyers and clients. These often subtle mental biases can lead to pervasive errors in decision making by causing us to ignore important information and make inaccurate predictions. They may lead a client to underestimate the risk of litigation. They may also lead a lawyer to miscategorize a client's value choice as a misjudgement of fact. The article offers illustrative stories of the impact of bias on both client and lawyer and suggests how to identify and attenuate these biases. It closes with the reminder that careful study and reflection will make us better legal counselors, but a precise analysis of lawyerly judgement still eludes us.

Suggested Citation

Weinstein, Ian, Don't Believe Everything You Think: Cognitive Bias In Legal Decision Making (2003). 8 Clinical L. Rev. 783 (2002-2003), Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2779670, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2779670

Ian Weinstein (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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