Business Management

Because of the phenomenon of anchoring, exposure to an initial number can have enduring effects on later decisions. Learn how this aspect of cognition can help or hinder your work as a lawyer.

This piece was first published in the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine.
Who would imagine that sentencing decisions could be affected by rolling dice? Who knew that a judge’s compensatory-damages award might be reduced if the defendant makes a nonserious motion to dismiss? Is the conventional wisdom that
Continue Reading Understanding Anchoring

This is Part 4 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, here for Part 2, or here for Part 3. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.
 16. Don’t Anchor in Your Closing Argument.
 

 A common belief among defense counsel is you undercut the strength of your no-liability argument if you suggest any dollar amount as a fair measure
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 4

Studying how the human brain works has helped scientists learn more about decision-making. Here are some findings and related tips that are especially relevant for lawyers.This article was first published in the Wisconsin Lawyer on January 7th, 2022.Most of us learned the classic, reason-or-emotion concept of decision-making. As described long ago by Plato, human thinking is understood as akin to a chariot driver trying to control two horses, one guided by rational impulse and the other driven
Continue Reading Use Brain Science to Make Better Decisions

This piece was first published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The Waukesha Christmas Parade murders remind us of the continuous judgments made by district attorneys, court commissioners, and judges as they decide whether and on what terms to release those accused of crimes. As a follow-on to Craig Johnson’s important commentary (“Darrell Brooks Jr. case was a tragic mistake but the county’s risk assessment worked,” Dec. 5), it is worth taking account of the insights from decision-making science as
Continue Reading Waukesha Parade attack highlights a need to improve bail decisions. Do it in a thoughtful, bipartisan way that relies on science.

About one year ago today, I wrote a post called “Changes are Coming – Be Prepared to Disclose Beneficial Ownership in 2021.” Although those changes (i.e. the requirement that all businesses disclose their beneficial owners in a federally run database) have not come to pass yet, they are still on the way – so keep an eye out in 2022.

The idea of the beneficial ownership disclosures is to cut down on the use of shell companies to launder
Continue Reading More Oversight is Coming!

This is Part 3 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, or here for Part 2. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.
 11. Assume the jury is not watching you.
 

 During trial it is easy to think you’re not being watched. So you quickly check your phone for texts and emails, you laugh and joke with opposing counsel during
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 3

This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, and click here for Part 3. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.In part one of the Series, we discussed five common trial errors: (1) don’t learn about your jurors in voir dire; (2) tell the jury not to pay attention to your Opening; (3) organize your Opening like
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 2

This is Part 1 of a four-part series. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. You can find Part 2 here. Thank you for reading.During decades of trying cases, teaching Trial Advocacy, observing mock juries, interviewing jurors, and now serving as a trial advisor, arbitrator, and mediator, I’ve learned some things about what doesn’t work at trial.  By highlighting mistakes instead of a more traditional focus
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 1

Let’s start with some background on unemployment insurance in Wisconsin. This article focuses on unemployment insurance from an employer’s perspective and specifically under Wisconsin state law. As such, we are not discussing the expanded unemployment provisions in the CARES Act, which primarily impact separated employees applying for unemployment benefits under more broad eligibility criteria. As the CARES Act provisions are federally funded, they have minimal impact on employers. In our experience, employers are not even notified as a party
Continue Reading Do Business Owners Need to Pay Unemployment Insurance?

Humility was missing in action as the coronavirus pandemic invaded the U.S.Note: This piece was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.On Sept. 28, 1918, 200,000 people jammed Philadelphia’s streets to enjoy the Liberty Loan Drive Parade. We know that a “deluge of death” from influenza followed, but fewer know about the decision that came before the parade. Flu outbreaks had hit a Kansas army base in March 1918, influenza then roared throughout Europe. A Boston military parade
Continue Reading 'What if we are wrong?'

Theranos is one example of how “we hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest.”By Ralph A. Weber and Dale E. Jones

Note: This article was originally published by Directors & Boards magazine.We all know the basic facts of the Theranos debacle: Brilliant Stanford dropout fools almost everyone about a blood-testing device she proclaims will revolutionize healthcare. Conscience-stricken employees reach out to investigative reporter. Theranos collapses.While Elizabeth Holmes’s name lives in infamy, it’s important to note
Continue Reading Confirmation Bias Can Cloud Director Judgement

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11, 2021, established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The RRF earmarks $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, caterers, food trucks and similar businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the RRF and provide the grants, which are intended to cover a business’s total pandemic-related revenue losses.
Timing
Be ready to act fast: The SBA will generally award grants to eligible entities in
Continue Reading Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Updated Guidance for Restaurants, Bars and More

Note: This article was originally published by the American College of Trial Lawyers.With this closing instruction ringing in their ears, jurors across the country are sent off to their deliberation rooms to reach a verdict: “Free your minds of all feelings of sympathy, bias and prejudice and let your verdict speak the truth, whatever the truth may be.” For decades we believed this instruction was effective and its goals attainable. People could simply “free their minds of all
Continue Reading Improving Jury Deliberations Through Jury Instructions Based on Cognitive Science

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11, 2021, establishes the “Restaurant Revitalization Fund” (RRF). The RRF earmarks $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants, breweries, bars, caterers and food trucks. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the RRF and provide the grants, which are intended to cover a business’s total pandemic-related revenue losses.
Timing
Be ready to act fast: The SBA will award grants to eligible entities in the order that applications are
Continue Reading Restaurant Revitalization Fund: What Restaurants, Breweries and Bars Need to Know

Gov. Tony Evers signed Senate Bill 1 into law on February 26, 2021, which increases protection for Wisconsin employers from COVID-19-related civil liability. Specifically, the recently enacted law shields entities from civil liability for the death, injury or damages related to a COVID-19 infection of any individual, employee or patron who may have been infected because of an act or an omission through the entity’s performance of its functions or services. This civil immunity, however, does not extend to
Continue Reading Wisconsin Enacts COVID-19 Civil Liability Shield

On February 25, 2021, Governor Tony Evers signed 2021 Wisconsin Act 4 (“Act”). The Act became effective on February 26, 2021. The Act, in part, created broad immunity to civil liability related to exposure of COVID-19 for companies under Wisconsin Statute section 895.476 (“Statute”). The full Act is available here.

Worker’s compensation is still the exclusive remedy for employee claims against employers. The Statute provides civil immunity to companies for claims from individuals such as customers, vendors, and employee
Continue Reading Wisconsin COVID-19 Immunity Statute Passed