June 05, 2012 Articles

Accurately Predicting the Outcome of Your Case

A lawyer's judgement about the outcome of a case is crucial in knowing how much to settle for, and how to persuade a jury.

By Jessica Hoffman Brylo

This article focuses on your ability (or inability) to predict the outcome of your case and where you may be going wrong. Your ability to predict the outcome of the case is important in informing your judgment on when to settle and what amount to settle for, what amount to ask for in trial, as well as whether to take on a case to begin with. If your judgment is off, you may be doing yourself and your client a great disservice.

There is such a thing as too much information. Attorneys know their cases so extremely well that it hampers their ability to predict the case outcome, which ironically is precisely the reason that they study the case so intently in the first place. Attorneys work countless hours to know their cases inside and out, but in becoming so familiar with the case, they become dissociated from the people who are hearing the facts for the first time and ultimately deciding the outcome—the decision-makers. Facts and legal issues that became, over time, significant to the attorney’s understanding of the case—even things that he or she thinks are the cornerstones to the case—can be completely irrelevant to decision-makers such as mediators, jurors, or judges, who have much less familiarity with the case. If the purpose is to persuade these decision-makers, attorneys need to learn to rely on strategies for preparation other than their own intuition.

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