How Leading Lawyers Think

In How Leading Lawyers Think: Expert Insights Into Judgment and Advocacy, 78 attorneys in California and New York describe how they evaluate, negotiate and resolve litigation cases. Selected for their demonstrated skill in predicting trial outcomes and knowing when cases should be settled or taken to trial, these attorneys identify the key factors in case evaluation and share successful strategies in pre-trial discovery, client counseling, negotiation, mediation, and trials. Integrating law and psychology, the book shows how skilled attorneys mentally frame cases, understand jurors’ perspectives, develop persuasive themes and arguments and achieve exceptional results for clients.

Reviews of this new book state:

“In How Leading Lawyers Think, Kiser moves from the analysis of large bodies of data to close analysis of a group of select lawyers chosen for their ability to beat the odds and make accurate case assessments and good settlements or good decisions to instead try the cases. He examines their habits of mind and approach to their clients, cases, colleagues and opposition in an effort to isolate practices that can assist all of us as advocates and mediators to calibrate our own case assessments and to understand the importance of certain criteria and disciplines in predicting case outcomes. The body of Kiser’s work is really a must for anyone who seeks an improved understanding of good judgment and impediments to good judgment generally and in the more specific context of case assessment.”
— Laura A. Kaster, New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer, Spring 2012, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 79-80

“Kiser’s interviews provide tremendous insight for us as a profession. This book could not have been an easy task to complete. I applaud Mr. Kiser on his work and recommend this book to those who want to gain an unvarnished insight into the minds of the country’s leading attorneys.”
— Gene Roberts, Mediator, North Texas Negotiations

How Leading Lawyers Think is a rare inside look at decision making, mediation, negotiation and case evaluation from the perspectives of leading attorneys who have successfully taken thousands of cases to trial. The insights, experiences and values of these attorneys are masterfully woven into a story that allows the reader to rethink how decisions are made and how cases ought to be evaluated. It’s a book that will make readers not only better practitioners but better human beings.”
— Monique McKay, Co-Founder, Master Mediator Institute

“Errors in case evaluation can be very expensive. Kiser has previously quantified the frequency and cost of such errors in acclaimed empirical research. Here, we get a peek behind those statistics to see how talented trial lawyers avoid errors and decide whether and when a case should be settled or tried to verdict. It’s a must read for clients, advocates, and mediators in the crucible of litigation.”
— Don Philbin, Attorney/Mediator, ADRToolbox

“From the interviews of 78 leading attorneys, Kiser extracts the perspectives and insights that form the foundation of mastery of case evaluation, client counseling, negotiation and case resolution. By posing open-ended questions, he was able to illuminate the hearts, minds and souls of these lawyers as they make difficult, high-stakes decisions under risk and uncertainty. The reflections of the seasoned lawyers are analyzed and collated brilliantly, and the reader is guided effortlessly on a memorable journey of professional enrichment.”
— Robert A. Creo, Founding President, International Academy of Mediators

“Randall Kiser, in his new book How Leading Lawyers Think, provides us with an intriguing insight into the accomplished minds of lawyers at the top of their game. Kiser has interviewed seventy-eight attorneys, all with a broad range of experience, to bring us a unique and revealing account of the world of advocating, negotiation, mediation, prediction and litigation from those who know it best. … Kiser successfully accomplishes a thorough and insightful look into the real lives and pressures of being a practicing lawyer.”
Lisa Cherkassky, International Journal of Law and Management

“I heartily recommend a read of Beyond Right and Wrong, and also of How Leading Lawyers Think, both written by Randall Kiser, a leading researcher in the field of settlement error in the legal profession. Kiser’s work is perhaps the most comprehensive research to date in key areas of what distinguishes successful attorneys from the rest and what attorneys find useful and look for in the mediation process and as well as in their mediators.”
Bruce MacAllister, Executive Director, Business Excellence Solutions

"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)