Negotiating Jury Verdicts: Apologies Work with Twelve People Good and True
A big thank you to local mediator Steve Mehta forApology Infuences Jury Verdicts, New Study Finds excerpted below and click here for full post.
A big question in trial for lawyers to consider is whether to apologize for their client’s “alleged” conduct. Many lawyers are reluctant to do so under the theory that it could lead to a greater chance of liability being imposed on them. Recent research sheds light on this issue.
According to researchers at George Mason University and Oklahoma State University apologizing to a jury may lead more favorable results. The results of the study will be available in a the journal Contemporary Accounting Research.
Assistant accounting professors Rick Warne of Mason and Robert Cornell of OSU found that apologizing can result in lower frequencies of negligence verdicts in cases when compared to a control group receiving no apology or remedial message. The researchers hypothesized that apologies allow the accused wrongdoer to express sorrow or regret about a situation without admitting guilt. Alternatively, a first-person justification allows the accused to indicate the appropriateness of decisions given the information available when decisions were made.
“We found that apologies reduce the jurors’ need to assign blame to the [wrongdoer] for any negative outcomes to the client,” says Warne. “It also appears that an apology “influences the jurors impression that the auditor’s actions were reasonable and in accordance with professional standards.”
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