Recently, Patrick Lamb of In Search of Perfect Client Service asked how often in-house counsel seek a second opinion about strategy. (Rarely, it seems.) Drawing on medical statistics, he noted that 50% of Americans do not get second opinions for important medical diagnoses, but among those who do, the second opinion leads to changes in the diagnosis or treatment 30% of the time.
As Patrick said:
Fresh eyes are often the best eyes. People trying to solve a problem often lock-in on a strategy and play favorites with it. Fresh eyes can provide needed perspective.
A fresh set of eyes is one of the best attributes an appellate lawyer brings to a trial team. A new perspective can be beneficial when critiquing a strategy after the fact—as in Patrick’s example of a bellwether product-liability trial—but even more so while the matter is still going on. Appellate counsel with the ability to see two or three steps ahead can impact a case in the moment.
Would a second opinion from an appellate lawyer change a decisionmaker’s strategy in real time? There’s no way to know if it’s never sought.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Sean MacEntee.