Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Trouble In River City Episode 6: Trouble With A Captial “ T” That Rhymes With “P”

My GC called Super Lawyer and we discussed this notion of economically modeling litigation. He had not heard of such a thing, but called a friend who had gotten his MBA from one of those schools that was very close to an ocean, and therefore, a considerable amount of credibility. He confirmed that no such concept existed. With renewed confidence, we prepared a single sheet for Superstar that summarized the logic for recommending a compliance program as a solution to the growing inventory of litigation. It did not address economic modeling at all.

My GC arranged for my next meeting with Superstar and accompanied me. We entered the room. Superstar was cordial and invited us to sit down. My CG initiated the conversation, explaining that I had come to her with the issue of modeling. We thoroughly explored it together and with other significant figures in the both the legal and business community, and there was a consensus that the approach we described in this sheet was the best solution. She selected best solution approach because she did not want to come right out and say no such thing as economically modeling cases existed. She handed the document to Superstar.

Superstar leaned back and began reviewing document. He began to drift into deep thought and for a long time remained silent, in mesmerized state he stared above the paper and out the window to our left. Suddenly, he recovered from this thought and said: “Do you recall that song from the Music Man, where the Professor persuades the town of their need for a band by suggesting it is a solution to problems they did not perceive, such as the negative influence of pool on the town’s youth?” “Yes, ‘Trouble’ was the name of the song, ‘Trouble in River City’, but what on earth does that have with a legal compliance program,” said my GC.

“Nothing, directly, it just came to mind when I thought about the effort it might require to convince the legal profession they have a problem, Trouble with a Capital ‘T’ that rhymes ‘P’ that stands for ‘Process’.” Superstar continued, “In my MBA program we were given an analytical framework to evaluate the social and economic structure of legal issues. Law schools teach lawyers a process which they instinctively implement without a critical eye for the implications of that process in its social and economic context. In one case study we examined how this type of reflex response gave economic and legal reality to an alleged disease that had no scientific basis in fact. It was only the restructuring of the defense posture of the entire industry by few insightful industry lawyers that made success possible. When I asked you to economically model cases, I wanted you to step back and examine what were the manageable elements of the case. Your analysis presumes a certain manageable element and my guess is that it is wrong.’

-Larry Salibra
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