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The Decision Tree Analysis Blog, Top 5 Decision Tree Analysis Articles

1. Decision Tree Analysis in Litigation: The Basics – John DeGroote

The number one decision tree analysis resource on the web is John DeGroote’s series on decision tree analysis in litigation.  Starting out with the basics, John covers the four steps to creating a decision tree and offers tips on making decision trees work for your mediation practice.  This number one slot is really a series of posts on decision trees that John did, including why you should try a decision tree in your next mediation as well as an interview with Marc Victor of Litigation Risk Analysis.

2. Risk Analysis in Mediation – Geoff Sharp

The number two slot goes to Geoff Sharp, the amazing mediation blogger from New Zealand. In his post, Geoff writes, “Gut instinct, sloppy guesswork and grey hair no longer seem to be enough in complex, high stakes mediation.”  We agree. Geoff’s post provides compelling reasons to explore decision trees in your next mediation.

3. Decision Analysis – Robert Logan

Robert Logan provides real world insight into his use of decision tree analysis in mediations. He provides on-the-ground instruction that details the roll-back method  and an introduction to chance and decision nodes. However, my favorite quote from Robert is “‘One can construct decision analysis trees with many more branches. One could have a chance node for each element in the claimant’s case. The federal government apparently uses trees with tens of thousands of branches.  For the purposes of a mediation, though, less branches probably are better than more.  The more branches are used, the more difficult it is to explain, track and print the tree.”

What also stands out about Robert is his discussion of a risk profile.  A risk profile is a critical component to the complete understanding of the decision tree and is something that is usually absent in other discussions about decision trees in mediation.

4. Making Sound Decisions: How to Help Your Client Evaluate Settlement Options – Eleanor Barr

Eleanor Barr makes a compelling case for the clarity that decision tree analysis can bring to mediation. Eleanor makes the point that lawyers generally do not clearly explain the ups and downs of litigation and says that decision tree analysis”… brings welcome clarity to a process that is inherently uncertain, and is therefore an invaluable tool for you and your client.” Her excellent decision tree analysis article also walks readers through the application of decision analysis in a sample breach of contract case.  Check it out.  We think you’ll find it as valuable as we do.

5. Using Risk Analysis as a Mediation Tool – Evan Slavitt

Last, but not least, Evan Slavitt writes a fantastic article on risk analysis in mediation in the November 2005 / January 2006 edition of the Dispute Resolution Jounral. Certainly, this article is one of the most comprehensive, well written articles on decision tree analysis in mediation and is complete with multiple examples.

Evan’s article is slightly more advanced than the other mediation decision tree analysis articles in this list. But regardless of its complexity, we encourage you to read this “must read” decision tree analysis article.

Did we miss an article? Do you disagree with our top 5 list? Let us know! Post a comment below!

5 Myths About Decision Tree Analysis

Go to a litigation conference today and mention decision tree analysis. Typically, you’ll see lots of eyes rolling. In minutes, you’ll hear “the experts” lament the destruction of traditional practice of law. So what’s all the fuss? Why are decision trees so misunderstood in the practice of law?

In this 5-part series, we’ll bust common myths about decision tree analysis in litigation and mediation and discuss ways that decision trees can help you be a better attorney or mediator.

  • Myth 1: Decision Trees Must be Complex to be Useful
  • Myth 2: Decision Trees are for Plaintiffs Only
  • Myth 3: Decision Trees are Difficult to Learn
  • Myth 4: Decision Trees Have Not Been Widely Adopted by the Legal Community
  • Myth 5: Decision trees are Too Scientific and Do Not Explain My Entire Case

Look over the posts and tell me what you think. Are there any other myths that need busting?

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