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News Posted on January 16, 2014

Professor Shestowsky Publishes Study on ‘The Psychology of Procedural Preference'

Professor Donna Shestowsky has authored a new study, "The Psychology of Procedural Preference: How Litigants Evaluate Legal Procedures Ex Ante," on the legal procedures preferred by people involved in civil lawsuits at the start of their cases.  The study, recently published in Iowa Law Review, finds that people involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration and like judge trials more than jury trials. 

"The clear overall preference that litigants expressed for mediation over nonbinding arbitration has important implications for courts that want to draw litigants into their voluntary ADR programs, especially if they offer only one ADR procedure," Shestowsky said. "This finding helps to resolve a long-standing debate over which of the two procedures litigants prefer."

Shestowsky's groundbreaking project is the first multijurisdictional study exploring how civil litigants assess procedures at various points during the same lawsuit. This is the first publication in a multi-paper series, examining litigants' preferences at the beginning of a case. Subsequent papers will explore litigants' views at the end of their lawsuit.

Donna Shestowsky, who has both a law degree and a PhD in Psychology, is a Professor at UC Davis School of Law, where she teaches Criminal Law, Negotiation Strategy, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and a seminar in Legal Psychology.  She was the 2007 recipient of the Law School's Distinguished Teaching Award.

"The Psychology of Procedural Preference: How Litigants Evaluate Legal Procedures Ex Ante"