Snyder: Was King Solomon Proper?| Employees Compensation Information

By Teddy Snyder

Thursday, May 13, 2021 | 0

Pretty much everyone knows the biblical story about King Solomon.

Teddy Snyder

Two women said they had a child after another child died. Solomon ordered the baby to be cut in half and divided between them. One woman agreed; the other would rather give up her claim. Solomon then knew that the real mother was the one who put the baby’s welfare before her own interests.

Split the baby

Lawyers and claims professionals complain about judges ruling cases where the outcome only evenly divides the difference between the parties’ positions. Complaints about “babysitting” are loudest when the defendant or employer claims that no money should be given at all.

Pay attention to the center point

In mediation, the parties have control over the outcome. As a mediator, I facilitate the negotiations and gradually reduce the negotiation gap until the parties can agree on terms to settle their dispute.

Every request and every offer sends a message. Smart negotiators pay attention to how the midpoint changes with each round of negotiations. Cases are often resolved midway between the first reasonable proposals for settlement.

Some negotiators start with an extreme position intended as an anchor. The anchoring communicates what your ballpark is. However, if the proposal is so unreasonable as to be ridiculous, no one is going to take it seriously and the midpoint is unpredictable.

Is there ever a time to split the baby?

If the negotiators’ positions are close, they can agree to split the difference. Often times, cases settle close but not exactly in the middle to avoid the occurrence of a baby split.

Sometimes the parties accept a compromise in the middle but are unwilling to inform the opponent because they fear that disclosure would not resolve the dispute.

If I see a likely solution that the parties are unwilling to put on the table themselves, I can make a “mediator’s suggestion”. My proposal rarely suggests an even split, but like Solomon’s suggested outcome, it resolves the dispute.

Attorney Teddy Snyder mediates compensation cases for workers across California. She can be contacted via

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