Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

International law firms' clever ways to attract potential partners

Vivid information has a much greater effect on negotiations than dull information. International law firms in the magic circle (firms that are regarded as the most prestigious law firms headquartered in the UK), such as Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance, usually employ the ‘vividness bias’ tactic (Malhotra & Bazerman, 2007) to attract potential solicitors and partners. More specifically, on their websites, one of the first things they mention is the incredibly high salaries they offer. When vivid factors such as impressive salaries is present, dull factors such as working hours, office locations and collegiality are overlooked and underweighted. Therefore, regardless of many possible dull factors, people still possess high desires to apply to these firms.

Interestingly, middle size international law firms also have their own way to attract applicants with high potential. Almost all international law firms attend law fairs, talks and possess their own websites. However, HFW, a middle size international law firm, attracts applicants by liaising with law societies at Universities and provides one-on-one workshops on campus. Furthermore, these workshops are not opened to everyone, a statement letter from the applicant is required and only those who are chosen will be invited to attend.

When I first saw the email that mentioned this workshop; I immediately felt that I should apply. After I got invited to the workshop, I was highly satisfied. This can be explained by ‘scarcity bias’ which states that the value of a good increases due to the mere fact that it is scarce. Mittone and Savadori (2009) conducted an experiment where participants were separated into two conditions; in which the same good was either plentiful or limited. In the limited condition, a competitor was present, while in the plentiful condition, no competitor was involved. It was shown that more participants opt for the good which it was limited. So this explains that I was highly satisfied because I felt like I had won in a competition.

Malhotra, D., & Bazerman, M. (2007). Negotiation genius: How to overcome obstacles and achieve brilliant results at the bargaining table and beyond. Bantam.

Mittone, L., & Savadori, L. (2009). The scarcity bias. Applied Psychology, 58(3), 453-468. 

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