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Decido, ergo sum. Decisions constitute the bedrock of every law department’s effectiveness

To think is to make decisions: which facts to pay attention to, how to weight and combine them, what experience and knowledge applies to them, how to mix together the facts and legal knowledge, what to respond – all are decisions.

Everything that happens in a law department results from someone’s decision (or someone’s not making a decision). For example, delegation can be defined as assignment of decision making to someone else. Not evaluating law firms is a negative decision, but with quite profound consequences nevertheless. Creativity, to pick one other relationship, depends on decisions made.

Other characteristics of decisions come to mind. All decisions have probabilities as to whether they are fit for purpose, i.e., was it a good decision, which depends in part on the time period for the assessment. Two months later the evaluation may fall one way, will a year later the evaluation may even reverse. You also need to separate the decision from the process employed to reach it.

Decisions have weaknesses, ranging from ignorance of certain facts, through analytical errors, to ideological blinders, and including unknown unknowns. Decisions have strengths, such as their speed, creativity, decisiveness, drama, and comprehensiveness.

For all these portentous reasons, I often write about decisions. They make or break a legal team. Here are the latest incarnations of my interest (See my post of Nov. 25, 2009: ECA done well; Dec. 15, 2009: not just accumulating facts; Dec. 22, 2009: three common delusions; April 9, 2010: antidotes for some decision traps; May 24, 2010: check references before personnel interviews; June 3, 2010: finger-pointing if a decision goes bad; June 9, 2010: decision making sets departments apart; July 15, 2010: contingency theory and the background for decisions; July 19, 2010: decision-making under stress; and July 20, 2010: software for creativity.).

Meanwhile, several metaposts pertain to decisions (See my post of Aug. 9, 2010: software that complements decision-making with 6 references; Feb. 16, 2008: decisions with 42 references; March 15, 2009: cognitive traps with 21 references; and June 17, 2009: decision tree software with 6 references.)

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