March 06, 2013 Practice Points

Overcoming Barriers to Valuing Your Case

By Laura A. Kaster and Harrie Samaras

Why does opposing counsel have such disparate views of case valuation––the net present value of the case––that thwart creating a zone for settlement? How can we better prepare for earlier settlement or mediation and be more secure in our case valuations?

If there were a Blue book for valuing cases, there would be a zone of probable agreement in nearly every case. However, few lawyers engage in rigorous risk assessment, or work on improving or calibrating their judgment to improve outcomes. Law firms and insurers that have excellent data in their files do not mine it to determine whether their predictions of net present value, and even of fees and costs as a component of that calculation, approximate reality.

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