“None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard
Collaboration amongst our 60 lawyers has been a critical element of the firm’s success. Even our most experienced lawyers find that they benefit from routine analysis and input from our up and coming lawyers. Collaboration works best when done in a setting that allows for full participation, with everyone being open to giving and receiving critical analysis.
Try asking a lawyer who’s been handling a case alone to tell you what the case is about. More often than not, the lawyer will start and restart the story of the case several times before landing on a version that makes you want to hear more about the case. The lawyer knows the facts of the case but hasn’t made the transition from gathering facts to turning those facts into a compelling story. When you assemble a group to discuss how those facts affect the case, the discussion naturally turns to storytelling. It’s what people do with facts.
The best version of the story of a case is the one that begins where the potential for harm was set in motion. Determining the root cause of the event that led to your client’s injury provides the beginning of the story that grabs attention. This analysis can be complex and requires a multifaceted approach, especially when the wrongful conduct and choices that set in motion the events that led to our client’s injury traces back through the many levels within a corporate structure. Collaborating with lawyers from different backgrounds and experiences can provide a wider perspective, leading to a more thorough and accurate analysis.
For instance, one of our cases involves a serious electrical injury at a construction site, with multiple potential contributing factors. Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. The ending is the change in our client’s life. The beginning of the story is the challenge. A jury will sit up and take notice of a case where the beginning of the story takes them to a place where they may find themselves one day. Most won’t ever set foot on a construction site, much less grapple with electrical connections.
One discerning member of our team pieced together two seemingly obvious facts that others overlooked. Our client’s employer was, in fact, attempting to place the blame for the injury on the employee. The narrative that sprang from this realization, enriched by collective discussion, was a compelling tale of manipulation and sacrifice. It revealed how the contractor, who had hired our client’s employer, coerced the employer into sacrificing our client as a means to maintain their longstanding business relationship. This narrative did not just give us a villain, but it cast a spotlight on a condemnable act – bullying. An act that resonates with everyone, universally understood and universally despised.
In uniting our efforts, we managed to counteract the confirmation bias that could have otherwise hindered any one of us from fully developing the narrative. As the story unveiled itself to our us, the heap of unrelated facts we had amassed during the discovery phase began to coalesce within the structure of our shared narrative.
Our firm has embraced collaboration as a process that will allow us to tap into the collective wisdom of our lawyers. The magnitude and depth of collaboration, understandably, depends on the number of lawyers available. For the smaller firms among us, partnering with lawyers outside their firm can enhance the benefits of collaboration. As many of you know, Dudley DeBosier has an open invitation to trial lawyers to join us in our collaborative gatherings. Whether its a strategy session or a case valuation meeting, we all benefit from the collaboration, for all the reasons described above, Remember, when we work together, we harness the power of collective intelligence, which far surpasses any individual effort. In other words,
“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
Chief Litigation and Strategy Officer