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Donna Shestowsky

Professor of Law


B.S. Psychology, Yale University

M.S. Psychology, Yale University

J.D., Stanford University

Ph.D. Psychology, Stanford University


Donna Shestowsky was awarded a J.D. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. While at Stanford, she taught courses in legal psychology and established a research lab devoted to the empirical study of juries and dispute resolution processes. During the 2003-2004 academic year she was jointly appointed to the faculty at Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management.

Dr. Shestowsky teaches Criminal Law, Negotiation Strategy, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and a Seminar in Legal Psychology. She also coaches the King Hall Negotiations team, which ranked 1st in the world in the international law student negotiations competition in 2009. She was the 2007 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award. Her legal and psychological commentary has appeared in national sources such as CNN, NPR, and the New York Times. She advises courts in the development of court-connected ADR programs and provides negotiation education services to law firms and members of national organizations such as the Practicing Law Institute.

Dr. Shestowsky’s primary research objective is to examine basic assumptions underlying the structure of the legal system and to explore ways in which the legal system might be improved using the methodological and analytic tools of psychological theory and research. She is currently conducting a national longitudinal study, funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Bar Association, which examines how litigants decide how to resolve their disputes.

Subject Areas

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Juries, Negotiations

Selected Career Highlights

  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Northwestern University School of Law, 2003-2004
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern), 2003-2004
  • Instructor, Stanford University, Department of Psychology, 2001-2002

Selected Publications

Donna Shestowsky, How Litigants Evaluate Legal Procedures at the Start of Their Cases, 50 Ct. Rev. 126 (2014).

Donna Shestowsky,The Psychology of Procedural Preference: How Litigants Evaluate Legal Procedures Ex Ante, 99 Iowa L. Rev. 637 (2014).

Donna Shestowsky et al., That Never Happened: Adults’ Discernment of Children’s True and False Memory Reports, 36 Law & Hum Behav. 365 (2012).

Donna Shestowsky & Lee Ross, Two Social Psychologists’ Reflections on Situationism and the Criminal Justice System, Ideology, Psychology, and Law, (Jon Hanson ed., 2011).

Donna Shestowsky, An Evaluation of the Ventura Superior Court Small Claims Mediation Program, (limited distribution report) (2011).

Donna Shestowsky & Jeanne Brett, Disputants’ Perceptions of Dispute Resolution Procedures: A Longitudinal Empirical Study, 41 Conn. L. Rev. 63 (2008).

Donna Shestowsky, Disputants’ Preferences for Dispute Resolution: Why We Should Care and Why We Know So Little, 23 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 549 (2008).

Donna Shestowsky, Misjudging: Implications for Dispute Resolution, 7 Nev. L. J. 487 (2007).

Donna Shestowsky, The Psychological Study of Dispute Resolution Processes, in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives (David S. Clark ed., 2007).

Donna Shestowsky, The Psychology of Interpersonal Persuasion: Lessons for the Advanced Negotiator, in The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: The Desk Reference for the Experienced Negotiator 361 (Andrea Kupfer Schneider & Christopher Honeyman eds., 2007).

Donna Shestowsky, Psychology and Persuasion, The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: The Desk Reference for the Experienced Negotiator, (Andrea Schneider & Christopher Honeyman ed., 2006).

Janice Nadler & Donna Shestowsky, Negotiation, Information Technology, and the Problem of the Faceless Other, in Negotiation Theory and Research 145 (Leigh L. Thompson ed., 2006).

Donna Shestowsky, Procedural Preferences in Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Closer, Modern Look at an Old Idea, 10 Psych. Pub. Pol’y & L. 211 (2004).

Donna Shestowsky & Leonard M. Horowitz, How the Need for Cognition Scale Predicts Behavior in Mock Jury Deliberations, 28 Law & Hum. Behav. 305 (2004).

Donna Shestowsky, Improving Summary Jury Trials: Insights from Psychology, 18 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 469 (2003).

Lee Ross & Donna Shestowsky, Contemporary Psychology’s Challenges to Legal Theory and Practice, 97 Nw. U. L. Rev. 108 (2003).

Franklin Strier & Donna Shestowsky, Profiling the Profilers: A Study of the Trial Consulting Profession, Its Impact on Trial Justice and What, If Anything, To Do About It, 1999 Wis. L. Rev. 441 (1999).

Donna Shestowsky, Where is the Common Knowledge? Empirical Support for Requiring Expert Testimony in Sexual Harassment Trials, 51 Stan. L. Rev. 357 (1999).

Donna Shestowsky, Duane T. Wegener & Leandre R. Fabrigar, Need for Cognition and Interpersonal Influence: Individual Differences in Impact on Dyadic Decisions, 74 J. Personality & Soc. Psychol. 1317 (1998).


The Psychology of Litigants Project - sole principal investigator for longitudinal study of how litigants evaluate legal procedures, sponsored by the National Science Foundation