How are the constructs of “risk” and “value” similar? Seven commonalities

Both are unmeasurable before the event. Law department can’t a priori state hard numbers associated with them.

Both are enormously value laden. Fundamental beliefs of people shape strongly how they understand and interpret the terms.

Both swim in contingent circumstances. Context powerfully influences what the two terms mean at a given time and under given facts.

Both are at the heart of legal advice. Lawyers make decisions all the time in the face of risk, try to identify and manage it, seek to provide value themselves, and maximize it from those they retain.

Both risk and value represent positions on spectrums or the confluence of several spectrums (spectra for Latin lovers). Neither term is anywhere near binary – a risk or not a risk, valuable or not valuable. Instead, they always stand somewhere on a continuum.

Both are incommensurable with each other, in that you cannot elevate either above the other, quantitatively measure them against each other, or even compare them.

Both are extremely hard, perhaps impossible, to operationalize. We can define them abstractly but when we grapple with a comprehensive, non-tautological description, we fail.

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