Advice biases that vary by the problem’s difficulty and the cost of the advice

Corporate lawyers get advice and give advice, so what precautions can they take in light of the research findings of Francesca Gino, reported in the Harvard Bus. Rev., March 2006 at 24-25? “[P]eople tend to overvalue advice when the problem they’re addressing is hard and to undervalue it when the problem is easy.”

What the research means is that if you think you know the answer to a legal issue, don’t be too quick to wave off advice from others. Conversely, on the tough nuts, leaven the advice of others with a bit of skepticism, lest you over-value what they say.

Finally, another advice-related bias the research found “compels people to overvalue advice that they pay for.” The high priced law firm enjoys that golden halo, but its advice should still be considered even-handedly.

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