Beyond Right and Wrong

Beyond Right and Wrong: The Power of Effective Decision Making for Attorneys and Clients guides attorneys and clients through legal decision making. It analyzes 11,000 attorney-client decisions in actual cases and summarizes decades of research regarding judge, jury, litigant and attorney decision making. To explain why many litigation outcomes are suboptimal, the book describes the psychological and institutional factors that impede sound decision making. The roles of attorneys and clients in legal decision making and the legal malpractice and disciplinary consequences of ineffective legal representation also are discussed. To rapidly promote better financial outcomes in civil litigation and to assist attorneys and clients in becoming expert decision makers, the book presents more than 65 ideas, methods and systems for improving personal and group decision making.

Reviews of this new book state:

“Kiser has written a tour de force on the theory and practice of negotiation. An amazing work. Each chapter can stand on its own depending on the nature of your interest in negotiation … business executive, attorney, client, mediator, academic, student. No filler or fluff.”
Stanley Leasure, Amazon Review, November 9, 2012

“This is an exceptional book. Through laborious empirical research, Mr. Kiser has come up with a number of insightful observations about the training of lawyers and the practice of law. … it’s worth noting that the book is very well-written. Mr. Kiser has all of the statistical data and a command of the math, but has presented the topic in a very readable and entertaining style. I’m looking forward to reading his subsequent book, “How Leading Lawyers Think”.”
Stephen Cavanagh, Amazon Review, November 28, 2011

“Everyone associated with litigation — lawyers, business executives, law professors — should read this book. … It has immediate, practical value. … This book now constitutes a great leap forward.”
Michael Palmer, Amazon Review, February 13, 2010

“[T]his tome should be near at hand in the office of every lawyer engaged in predicting litigation outcomes. … Anyone with sufficient interest in this subject, particularly attorneys, should buy the book and keep it, if not on their night-stands, at least on their desks.”
Victoria Pynchon, Negotiation Law Blog, February 20, 2010

“Now the lead author of that study — a consultant and former litigator — has written a book aimed at lawyers and law students to help them see the problem of bad decision making and learn ways to improve it. … So the book is a practical, how-to work backed by scholarship (but not weighed down by it). It should be of interest for professional responsibility as well as trial practice and alternative dispute resolution.”
Gallagher Blogs [Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington School of Law], June 23, 2010

“As part of the learning process, I highly recommend you obtain and read: R. Kiser, “Beyond Right and Wrong: The Power of Effective Decision Making for Attorneys, and Clients,” Springer Science+Business Media, (2010)”
Guy O. Kornblum, The Resolution Advocate, August 23, 2010

“It is bound to have significant impact on court’s and bar’s approach to the mediation and arbitration process… It is an empirically based work, but contains a great deal of practical advice for negotiating difficult and complex settlements. It gives a great deal of insight into the risks of trial. As a Mediator, I especially enjoyed his listing of 65 ideas, methods and systems for improving personal and group decision making. It provides insight into the empirical data and reminds us of the mutual interests and obstacles scattered along the path to settlement. And, of course, the costs of a course of battle rather than compromise.”
Ernest C. Brown, Mediation News, January 2011

“Randy Kiser does a great job drilling these points into legal case assessments in “Beyond Right and Wrong: The Power of Effective Decision Making for Attorneys and Clients” (Springer 2010).”
Don Philbin, Attorney-Mediator, April 25, 2011

“This book is dense with information. It is not a lightweight read, I will forewarn you. And it’s not cheap either; it’s over a hundred dollars. However, if you’re serious about improving your decision-making skills – whether as a lawyer, or a client or an executive or a negotiator – spending the hours required to read this book will be well worth the effort. This is an important, fundamental piece of research that deserves a place of primacy on any peacemaker’s bookshelf.“
Doug Noll, On The Peacemaker’s Bookshelf, May 12, 2011

“Multiple research studies show that litigators are human and, as such, are subject to a whole host of biases and pressures imposed on them by their roles as advocates, client managers and strategists. A thick volume by Randall Kiser called “Beyond Right and Wrong” provides a great review of many of these studies and, despite its academic tone and length, would be an interesting read for many litigators and litigation managers. One of the points of the book is that legal training disciplines the mind in a way that makes it very different from those of ordinary citizens. As a result, the author argues, attorneys are worse at predicting outcomes of trials than groups of law students and ordinary citizens.”
Galina Davidoff and Wendy L. Hufford, The Legal Intelligencer, January 27, 2015

“The book is a guide through the decision making process, for better or worse, of lawyers and their clients. It analyzes over 11,000 attorney-client decisions in real cases, and summarizes decades of research about the decisions made by judges, juries, litigants, and counsel.
The author does more than expose us to the less than hoped for results of the litigation process. He helps explain how good legal decision making is impeded by psychological, social and institutional factors. And to help us all become better at what we do, the author supplies ideas to improve our decision making.”
Judge Elaine Gordon (Ret.), “Oops, why didn’t we settle?”

"It is a disaster that wisdom forbids you to be satisfied with yourself and always sends you away dissatisfied and fearful, whereas stubbornness and foolhardiness fill their hosts with joy and assurance."
--- Michel de Montaigne (1553 - 1592)