Decision Tree Analysis for Law Practice
Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 609
Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 35 , No. 405, 2020
30 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2020
Decision trees can help lawyers better counsel clients and predict outcomes. They can serve as a bridge from indecipherable data to a better informed and counseled client.
Marjorie Corman Aaron’s new book, Risk and Rigor: A Lawyer’s Guide to Decision Trees for Assessing Cases and Advising Clients, has the potential to help bring about more widespread and effective use of decision tree analysis in lawyering. Risk and Rigor makes a comprehensive contribution to decision tree analysis learning. This review proceeds in four parts. Part I provides an overview of how decision tree analysis can serve the lawyer, on one hand, and law school teachers and their students, on the other. Part II examines the nuts-and-bolts parts of the book where the author teaches the willing reader how decision trees work and how to build them. Part III engages with the author’s assessment of the risks and limitations of decision tree analysis. Part IV queries whether decision trees may pose a barrier to some. Risk and Rigor had me wondering if decision tree analysis is equally accessible and welcomed by all, or if there might be some barriers to using decision trees with clients and law students. Risk and Rigor leaves relatively unexplored whether or not educational, gender, racial, and other biases may compromise the effectiveness of the use of decision tree analysis as a means of cultivating better client communication and counseling.
Ultimately, Risk and Rigor makes a persuasive case for the use of decision tree analysis. A practical, user-friendly addition to dispute resolution literature on decision analysis, Risk and Rigor challenges the reader to consider not just the benefits but also the limitations of decision trees.
Keywords: Decision tree analysis, predictive analytics, dispute resolution, negotiation, settlement, client counseling, prediction, client interviewing
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation