Law Firm Assessments

DecisionSet® assists law firms in delivering exceptional value to clients and achieving high levels of client satisfaction through improved decision making. As a result of these enhanced decision-making skills, law firms find that attorneys are more effective in advising and serving clients, managing client matters and achieving firms’ risk management goals.

Assessing and improving decision-making skills begins with an anonymous, easy-to-complete online survey. The survey is designed to highlight decision-making strengths that promote client retention and firm profitability and identify possible shortcomings that may lead to client dissatisfaction. This survey analyzes both organizational and personal decision making, and the survey results are compared with those of peer firms. The comparative results then form the basis of specific recommendations to accelerate the development and heighten the quality of decision-making skills.

The online survey consists of 148 statements with scaled Agree-Disagree and Never-Always choices. The statements, derived from multiple studies of high reliability organizations delivering superb results under high pressure, assess the quality of attorneys’ decision-making processes and probe to ascertain attitudes and systems that may impede effective decision making. The survey results quickly indicate whether lawyers and law firms have gained a competitive advantage in decision making and how they can upgrade decision-making performance to preserve that competitive advantage.

Many firms are unaware that their attorneys face subtle, persistent and powerful impediments to effective decision making. In their everyday work with clients, attorneys often fall into decision-making habits, patterns and conventions that lead to suboptimal results. In its groundbreaking study of attorney/client decision making in litigated matters, for example, DecisionSet® found that most plaintiffs achieved worse results at trial than they would have obtained by accepting pretrial settlement offers and that defendants’ decision making errors, though less frequent than plaintiffs’, are significantly more costly. Through sophisticated statistical analysis, DecisionSet® also identified the case and personal factors most predictive of decision-making errors. The New York Times described this DecisionSet® study as “the “biggest of its kind to date.”

The survey results are analyzed and summarized in a report for each firm’s management committee. The report shows how the firm’s responses compare with benchmark standards and the aggregated responses from other participating firms. Specific recommendations for improving organizational and personal decision-making skills also are included in the report.

The charge for the survey, which includes administration of the survey, analysis of results, a written summary and recommendations, and a personal presentation to the firm, is scaled to accommodate both medium and large-sized firms. For further information on law firm assessments, please email