Virtually all legal disputes get considered for settlement, which means that virtually all legal disputes get valued. Traditionally, those values are chosen by lawyers, who assign an overall value based on components like the facts of the case, the law that applies, the strength of the players involved, and the effectiveness of the advocates. In my view, experienced trial lawyers are quite good at evaluating these individual components. (I am one of these lawyers, so perhaps this belief is to be expected.)

The problem arises when even the best lawyers try to track all possible combinations of these components, and assign an overall value to the case. This is exactly what corporate counsel need their lawyers to do, and yet this also is where the process can break down, resulting in frustrating mistakes and stresses, not just with outside counsel but with company financial departments.

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