About this website and its creators
We unapologetically acknowledge that our original intent for this website was to accompany our (Professor Marjorie Aaron's) book by that name, Risk and Rigor: A Lawyer's Guide to Assessing Cases and Advising Clients (DRI Press, 2019) (also free for download through DRI Press), and our (Professors Michaela Keet's and Heather Heavin's) research, reflected in several articles and the book, How to Help Clients Make Smart Litigation Decisions: Carefully Assessing Clients’ Interests and Risks (ABA Publishing, forthcoming).
Risk and Rigor NEEDED web-based accompaniment because its chapter on the "How To's" references a series of short videos that show the process of building a handwritten decision tree, step by step. Though the book provides urls, the links are not "live" in the hard copy. (They are live and clickable in electronic, downloadable pdf versions.) Thus, this website contains a page for Risk and Rigor book readers that includes direct links to these videos, and to its free downloadable chapters.
Fortunately, we began thinking beyond the books, to create this website for lawyers seeking analytical and communication strategies toward well advised and fully informed clients. Of course, it's also for the benefit of mediators, judges, magistrates, and other professionals who work in litigation contexts, and for professors and trainers of current and future lawyers.
To these ends, the website assembles a curated collection articles, recordings, case examples, and links to software, many books and other resources for lawyers’ rigorous assessment of litigation risks, costs, and consequences, and for effective lawyer-client communication about that assessment. It also contains a sizable cache teaching materials – powerpoints, problem sets, case simulations, instructors’ guide - for use in law schools and continuing legal education programs. The vast majority of these materials are available for download or via link without charge. Though we can’t offer free copies of books and articles we don’t have permission to distribute, we have provided links to some we find particularly useful that are commercially available.
We hope that lawyers, law professors, law students and other legal professionals using this site will spread the word. Perhaps, over time, more lawyers and clients will engage in rigorous analysis and robust discussion of litigation risks, costs, and consequences. Our profession’s standards will be more widely realized by more fully informed clients, equipped to make decisions about whether to commence, continue or settle a legal dispute.
We also hope that there are lawyers, law professors, trainers, and consultants with deep interests in teaching and using the assembled articles and material. We realize that it is difficult to track down written or video resources showing how various methodologies or tools can be used with a client, advice for the autodidact, professors and other instructors on how to teach the material is not always easy to find. As a result, we invite those who visit the site and use or seek to use these methods in practice to join us in improving the quality of and assess to helpful teaching and learning resources.
Creators and contributors
is a Professor of Practice and Director of the Center for Practice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, teaching negotiation, client counseling, mediation, trial practice, and decision analysis. She presents on these topics for law firms, businesses, judges, mediator panels, and other organizations in the U.S. and internationally. Formerly the Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and a Vice President and mediator at Endispute, Inc. (JAMS), Professor Aaron is a mediator and arbitrator, and often uses decision tree analysis in her practice.
She the author of Risk and Rigor: A Lawyer's Guide to Assessing Casea and Advising Clients (DRI Press 2019) and Client Science: Advice for Lawyers on Counseling Clients Through Bad News and Other Legal Realities (Oxford Univ. Press, 2012) as well as many articles, chapters, simulations, and videos.
is a Professor at University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law, in Canada. She has developed the Dispute Resolution stream in the College’s curriculum, and has taught and lectured extensively – inside and outside the University – in the areas of negotiation and mediation. Her research and publications focus on court-connected DR processes, problem-solving roles for lawyers, judicial mediation, and, most recently, Litigation Interest Risk Assessment. She is regularly invited to present to audiences of lawyers, judges and mediators. Prior to joining the law faculty, she worked in private practice as a litigator, and has 25 years of experience as a mediator. In 2016, Professor Michaela Keet and Professor Heavin were awarded the Gonthier Fellowship by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice for their project on Ligation Risk Analysis.They are co-authors of How to Help Clients Make Smart Litigation Decisions: Carefully Assessing Clients’ Interests and Risks (ABA Publishing, forthcoming, likely 2019).
is Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and a Professor at University of Saskatchewan's College of Law and a founder of its CREATE Justice research centre.Her research and teaching have focussed on international and domestic trade and business law, and more recently in areas of risk assessment. Prior to joining the law faculty, she clerked for the Chief Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and practiced law with the firm of MLT (now MLT Aikins) She has also taught in the MPA program at the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy. In 2016, Professor Heavin and Professor Michaela Keet, were awarded the Gonthier Fellowship by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice for their project on Ligation Risk Analysis. They are co-authors of How to Help Clients Make Smart Litigation Decisions: Carefully Assessing Clients’ Interests and Risks (ABA Publishing, forthcoming, likely 2019).