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           John Sase, Ph.D.

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Law & Economics

How to Calculate the Expected Value of a Case

by John F. Sase, Ph.D.


"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer."
--Robert Frost, American Poet and Playwright WIKI


As an economist, I (Dr. Sase) have had the privilege of working with attorneys at the juncture of law and economics for more than fifteen years. Applying the foundations of economic analysis, I have acted as a consultant, an analyst, a project manager of class-action suits, and an expert witness. 


Standing along the sidelines of the legal profession, I have seen practices that have pleased, inspired, confused, and bewildered me. In each case, both lawyerly aspects of the firm and its business practices come through. For example, I have seen some attorneys using muddled, haphazard business logic in moving cases forward. 


I appreciate the opportunity to testify in court. However, I feel that most cases should be settled before going to trial. This belief gave rise to my tagline "I Help Attorneys Settle Cases Early and Satisfactorily." 


An inherent problem often is an imprecise estimation of probabilities of success and failure and the expected value at different stages of the case. In the PDF to the right ("The Expected Value of a Case"), I suggest methods for addressing these issues in general terms in order to provide attorneys with economic insights for case management. In this article, I provide an overview of the Expected Value of a Case for each step of the process and for the case as a whole. 


This whole may be projected before an attorney begins to work on a case. By doing so, many attorneys can manage their practices more effectively firm up their bottom lines.


From my
monthly column