Decision trees are a formal method to assess risk in litigation and estimate the expected value of a case. My former colleague and now law professor David Post and I explained the basics of risk analysis and decision trees in a 1990 article (the concepts have not changed since then). I have now come across new software for doing decision trees. 

The June/July issue of Law Office Computing, in Distinguished Decisions reviews two decision tree software options. One is Data, by TreeAge, referenced in our article. New to me, and the one favored by the reviewer, Grace Suarez, is DecisionPro by Vanguard Software.

Most litigators are not familiar with decision tree analysis, which I think is too bad. Granted, learning to use risk analysis is not a snap. But it strikes me as the only and best way systematically to evaluate a case. Especially with many corporate counsel now focusing on early case assessment, I have not figured out why decision trees have not gained traction. Comments anyone – am I missing something or are litigators missing something?