Source of article 2's Company - Magnus Insights.
As trial consultants, we work in a field where defining “success” is somewhat elusive. We have talked around this in other posts, but will explain it further in this one. In the civil arena in which we work most often, the outcome variables are a verdict comprised of liability and damages. While lawyer advertising often touts successes like “My lawyer won me $1 million” the reality is that defining success is not quite that simple. To quote a lawyer I heard at a conference once, the best way to get a $1 million verdict is to start with a case worth $10 million. Winning and losing is more relative than absolute, usually. There are some outright defense verdicts that can most easily be called “wins” for the defense. But, some plaintiff’s verdicts, whether $1 million or $1 Billion, are more subjectively called wins. Back to the quote, if a plaintiff’s attorney has a case that might be work $10 million, but “only” gets a verdict of $1 million, this might even be called a loss. To cloud the point further, on many of our defense cases, losing millions could be counted as a “win.” We have noted, in another post, the case that taught us this lesson most clearly early on. Our client “lost” $8 million, but was thrilled. He, and his client, were prepared for damages as high as $25 million against them. Then there is the issue of what result would one attorney have gotten with the same case, the same facts, and the same client – even with the same jury. One way where law and psychology, or social sciences, are so very different is that there are few do-overs. There is, more appropriately, no control group in law. Lawyers get one shot at their case at trial, unless there is a new trial based on an appeal. They must get it right the first time – the only time. But, the result they get becomes their measure of success despite the impossibility of comparing it to any other lawyer, venue, venire, or client. Thus, there is a conundrum of defining a successful lawyer. This is one of the reasons lawyers are restricted on their advertising. It is also a key reason that trial consultants should not tout a win-loss rate (something prohibited by the American Society of Trial Consultants). In some fields, defining success is much simpler, cleaner , and objective. The reality in our world is different and complicates many aspects of our practice, the marketing of our practice, and in very similar ways, those aspects of a lawyer’s practice.