This article examines whether the punch line that you can tell when lawyers are lying by confirming that their lips are moving applies to their conduct when negotiating in mediations. General surveys of lawyer honesty suggest that this perception probably does apply to the way lawyers negotiate in mediations. Only 20% of people surveyed in a 1993 American Bar Association poll described the legal profession as honest, and that number fell to 14% in a 1998 Gallup poll. However, research demonstrates a connection between honest negotiating and perceived effectiveness. A study of 5,000 Denver and Phoenix lawyers found that honest, ethical, and trustworthy behavior were among the important traits of effective negotiators.
Donald C. Peters, When Lawyers Move Their Lips: Attorney Truthfulness in Mediation and a Modest Proposal, 2007 J. Disp. Resol. 119 (2007), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/23