Rees Morrison’s Morsels #79 – additions to earlier posts

More explanation about standard deviations and Bayesian statistics. There’s a 95 percent chance that normally distributed data will fall within two standard deviations of its mean. When statisticians say that a result is statistically significant, they are really just saying that some outcome is more than two standard deviations away from the expected average. Given a mean and standard deviation Excel can calculate the likelihood that a number will fall within any given range of values (See my post of Nov. 6, 2006: basic explanation of standard deviation and its importance.). Bayes equation tells us how to update an initial probability given a new piece of evidence (See my post of June 16, 2007: Bayes and in-house counsel.).

Difference between “litigation” and “lawsuit.” “Litigation” is the process of bringing and pursuing or defending a “lawsuit.” Now I know. Do you agree?

The Plimsoll Line for law departments. Robert Kaplan, The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero (Oxford 1999) at 187, acquainted me with the Plimsoll Line. “They are on ships the world over to save the lives of sailors by showing the level between safe and dangerous loading.” We could use Plimsoll Lines for such decisions as how much work to assign to an in-house lawyer and another for how much to intervene in the operations of law firms (See my post of Aug. 4, 2008: interventions with three posts and 40 references.).

Simultaneous General Counsel and firm partner. While Robert Osborne, who much later became the general counsel of General Motors in September 2006, was still a partner at Kirkland & Ellis while he served as the general counsel of Lands’ End. According to Corp. Counsel, Vol. 13, Aug. 2006 at 65, “He never devoted more than 20 percent of his time to the outside GC gig.” Love it, fer sure, that gig (See my post of July 17, 2005: other examples of joint arrangements.).

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