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Negotiating Revenge

Who negotiates revenge?

Lawyers, of course.

In the criminal law, the negotiation ends either in a plea bargain or the Best Alternative to it — trial.

Most civil lawyers don’t think about revenge much.  When settling a case, however, they should understand their clients’ desire for vengence if they want to break past the psychological impasse to giving up the ultimate reward in a society based upon the law — vindication of a party’s  position and punishment of the opposition by way of a jury verdict.

Today, the New York Times — in Calculating Economics of an Eye for an Eye by Patricia Cohen — brings us a better way to understand the primal need for vengence which, it seems, is based not only on our “human nature” but also on our acculturation and personal experience.

Even Dr. Melfi wants revenge in a world where the “justice system is %$^#’ed up.”

The good news for countries clinging to the rule of law (as we are despite the recent assaults upon it) is as follows:

vengeful feelings are stronger in countries with low levels of income and education, a weak rule of law and those who recently experienced a war or are ethnically or linguistically fragmented. Anthropologists tend to believe that vengeful feelings were useful in binding a family or group together in early human society. They were protective devices before states were established and did the job of punishing wrongdoers.

Check out the full article here.  H/T to Marginal Revolution here.

                        author

Victoria Pynchon

Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all… MORE >

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