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Lawyers Can Learn from Psychologists

Naturally, we believe that psychologists and other therapists are key resources for lawyers who are having problems with mood or behavior, but in their new book, Psychology for Lawyers: Understanding the Human Factors in negotiation, Litigation, and Decision Making, psychologists Jennifer Robbennolt (of Universerity of Illinois College of Law) and Jean Sternlight (University of Nevada Boyd School of Law) make a case that “lawyers should not simply rely on received wisdom or experience, but think about how the findings of psychological research might have implications for how they go about their work.”  In an interview for the November issues of Monitor on Psychology, Robbennolt notes that psychological findings such as those reviewed in the book can offer tips, for example, on how to handle cases better by identifying and assessing clients’ emotions and how to help witnesses provide effective narratives.  Lawyering, after all, involves much more than accomplishing tasks; a key aspect of the work is managing relationships.

Jeff Fortgang, PhD

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