Settlement Perspectives

Thoughts on how to resolve disputes and get your deal done.


10 PerspectivesMarch 30, 2010

Lawsuit Settlement: 7 Ways to Get There Faster, Better and Cheaper — The Presentation

Lawsuit Settlement:  7 Ways to Get There Faster, Better and Cheaper -- The PresentationLate last week I got the chance to present Lawsuit Settlement: 7 Ways to Get There Faster, Better and Cheaper to a great group of lawyers with a real stake in when cases settle at the Chief Litigation Officer Summit in Miami.  It’s always rewarding to speak with an audience that understands — and cares about — the topic, and this group of senior in-house lawyers reminded me why.

The PowerPoint, with Hyperlinks (and Directions)

After last week’s presentation I promised a few of the attendees I’d post a PowerPoint version of Lawsuit Settlement: 7 Ways to Get There Faster, Better and Cheaper to Settlement Perspectives, with hyperlinks to the underlying material — including posts on managing expectations, decision trees, mediation, settling halfway, Rule 68, early case assessment and more.  The PowerPoint slides are attached here, and the easiest way to access the hyperlinks within the presentation is to view it in “Slide Show” view and click on the underlined text for additional resources.  Otherwise, in “Normal” view, click on the underlined text while holding down the “Control” key.

Take a look at the presentation — I think you’ll be glad you did.

Categories: ADR,Miscellaneous,Negotiation,Selected Posts,Settlement

10 Perspectives:

Jacob RuytenbeekTuesday, March 30, 2010 9:44 pm


Glad to see you put this online. Its a great presentation and I’m jumping up and down (figuratively) to see that you’ve included decision trees on slide 5. I love the first bullet – “They’re easier than you think”, it couldn’t be more true.

Keep it coming – there’s always great content coming out of Settlement Perspectives.

John DeGrooteWednesday, March 31, 2010 5:39 am


As you know, I’m a fan of decision trees because they work — clients, lawyers, opposing parties, and even mediators can gain real insight into a case by using decision trees as a tool, and they really are easier than you think.

Thanks for your thoughts on the presentation, Jacob — I’m glad you liked it.

John DeGroote

Marc LanzkowskyFriday, May 21, 2010 12:07 pm

Great suggestions and useful information. Over the years I have used many of these methods in one form or another. It’s good to see them synthesized in one place. I will be sharing this and your site with my readers at the Claims SPOT.


John DeGrooteSaturday, May 22, 2010 8:33 am


Thanks for this, and thanks for letting us know about the Claims SPOT. I just took a quick look, and I’ll definitely be back.

John DeGroote

3 Settlement Techniques That Will Help Move A Case To Resolution – The Claims SPOTTuesday, May 25, 2010 10:03 am

[...] a recent article posted on their blog, Lawsuit Settlement: 7 Ways to Get There Faster, Better and Cheaper — The Presentation, John DeGroote gave a few different approaches to help move those difficult cases to settlement.  [...]

Michael WebsterWednesday, June 2, 2010 10:59 pm

As the resident skeptic about the use of decision trees, from what I have seen and read the use of a decision tree demonstrates that even if you have 3 excellent chances, .9, but need all of them to turn out, you know are in the realm of a ok chance, around .72.

And how do you resolve problems where people insist, with good reason, on the trees have different probabilities?

How do you resolve the problems where people construct different trees, again with good reason?

Decision analysis, as Howard Raiffa, dubbed it is going to have to turn out to be more sophisticated than the current models provide for.

John DeGrooteSunday, June 6, 2010 8:20 pm


I returned from vacation to find your comment and am intrigued by your question: “[H]ow do you resolve problems where people insist, with good reason, [that] the trees have different probabilities?”

I have said here more than once that “If you and the other side value the case differently, at least one of you is wrong.” That applies equally to probability assessments — there can’t be two right answers, and it’s the job of mediators, lawyers and their clients to determine whether the parties have an accurate assessment of a given risk.

If two parties (or more) disagree on the probability of something occurring, they will both need to work to find out why. I have posted an entire series on Early Case Assessment to help parties avoid this problem, but early mediation sometimes precedes a full ECA. Just last year I had a mediation that resulted in impasse because we couldn’t agree on the probability of several variables in the case. We adjourned the mediation for a few months, worked through a limited (and targeted) discovery schedule together, and got to the right answer. It can be done, and it should be done more often.

Michael, as always, thanks for your insights.

John DeGroote

Michael WebsterMonday, June 7, 2010 3:15 pm


1. Yes, there can be objective reasons for disagreements over subjective probabilities that can be resolved. But I don’t think this covers most of the interesting conflicts.
Take a look Scott Plous’s work on the Perceptual Dilemma

2. My own view is that these differences in risk perception may form the basis of a mutual trade.

3. Finally, there is an important study out there “Let’s Not Make A Deal”, which shows that experienced plaintiff attorneys are no better than average at predicting what will happen at trial, while the experienced defence attorney is better, 75% on the money, when they are wrong their average loss is over a million!

This would be a wonderful little negotiation exercise, to see how often trial expenses could be avoided.

3 Settlement Techniques @ the Claims SPOT | The Decision Tree Analysis BlogSaturday, October 9, 2010 8:42 pm

[...] Marc Lanzkowsky at The Claims SPOT has a great post about three techniques for moving your negotiation beyond impasse. These three techniques are based on a post found on John DeGroote’s Settlement Perspectives Blog. [...]

Mark AlexanderTuesday, October 19, 2010 11:47 am

PowerPoint with hyperlinks is an excellent form of interactive presentation. The hyperlinks allow you to jump from slide to slide as if you are navigating a website. It is an especially important presentation tool for attorneys who prefer not to follow a scripted linear PPT presentation.
Our clients are turning more and more to settlement video presentations. Videos whereby the case brief and interrogatories are transformed into a 20/20 or Dateline style documentary. Expert and key witnesses present their findings and the whole story (case) is presented with professional narration in an easy-to-follow and compelling 15-20 minute presentation. It is as if you are watching the case being told on network television.
Sample videos are available online, our staff needs to be contacted and we can send the link to you if you are interested. Hope that helps to broaden the settlement tool horizon.

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Settlement Perspectives
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of John DeGroote.

I created this site to help clients and their counsel navigate the challenges that inevitably result from disputes, settlement efforts, impasse, and negotiation in general. The perspectives I bring are based on my experience, summarized in this abbreviated bio. If you have any questions or thoughts about this site, or an issue you’d like to see addressed, please email me at:


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