August 05, 2019 Perspective

A Certain Kind of Thinking for a Certain Time

Mark K. Dickson

©2019. Published in Landslide, Vol. 11, No. 6, July/August 2019, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Attorneys pride themselves on analytical thinking. After all, step-by-step progression through facts and reasoning built upon past practice and precedent is the hallmark of common law development. But analytical thinking doesn’t always carry the day, at least not according to an article I read recently. “Logical analytical thinking is really good when you are trying to solve a problem you’ve seen before. You can use known methods and techniques to approach whatever issue you are dealing with. Elastic thinking is what you need when the circumstances change and you are dealing with something new. It’s not about following rules.”1

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