Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment: A Guide for Lawyers and Policymakers



In Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment, Paul Brest and Linda Hamilton Krieger have written a systematic guide to creative problem solving that prepares students to exercise effective judgment and decision making skills in the complex social environments in which they will work. The book represents a major milestone in the education of lawyers and policymakers,

Developed by two leaders in the field, this first book of its type includes material drawn from statistics, decision science, social and cognitive psychology, the "judgment and decision making" (JDM) literature, and behavioral economics. It combines quantitative approaches to empirical analysis and decision making (statistics and decision science) with the psychological literature illustrating the systematic errors of the intuitive decision maker. The book can stand alone as a text or serve as a supplement to a core law or public policy curriculum.

Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment: A Guide for Lawyers and Policymakers prepares students and professionals to be creative problem solvers, wise counselors, and effective decision makers. The authors' ultimate goals are to help readers "get it right" in their roles as professionals and citizens, and to arm them against common sources of judgment error.

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
May 26, 2010
6.1 X 1.2 X 9.1 inches | 2.1 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Paul Brest is professor emeritus and former Dean of the Stanford Law School. He is President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He teaches a graduate course on Judgment and Decision Making at Stanford University. Linda Hamilton Krieger is a Professor of Law and Director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law in Honolulu, Hawai'i and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley.


"Brest and Krieger fill a huge vacuum. Their book is likely to transform the curricula of law schools and public policy schools by providing an excellent text for courses that systematically analyze the crucially important, but hitherto largely neglected, processes by which lawyers and policymakers exercise their judgment. Their multidisciplinary approach is ambitious and rigorous yet clear and accessible."
-- Richard L. Revesz
Dean and Lawrence King Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

"Brest and Krieger pull off quite a trick here. The book is at once lucid, practical, and intellectually deep. The authors demonstrate admirable sophistication in interpreting the seminal psychological findings, as well as the rational choice inference and decision making models. At the same time, they repeatedly demonstrate how professionals might really improve how they do their work."
--Mark G. Kelman
James C. Gaither Professor of Law and Vice Dean, Stanford Law School

"Brest and Krieger have written a book of extraordinary scope and depth. Practical examples effectively motivate the material, and the exposition is always clear and extremely insightful. There is much to learn from reading this book. I am eager to use it in my own undergraduate course."
--Barry Schwartz
Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action, Swarthmore College

"Brest and Krieger provide a holistic process for making effective decisions as problem-solving lawyers and policymakers. This textbook is groundbreaking in its breadth, depth, and versatility. There is nothing comparable for teaching students about the theoretical and practical dimensions of decision making. It is a brilliant tour de force."
--Mark Neal Aaronson
Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

"This book employs a much needed academic and non-skills approach to illuminate lawyers' work and thinking. The multi-disciplinary methodology enriches our understanding of interviewing, counseling, and negotiation and brings to the fore the decisions some lawyers make unconsciously. It does this by examining lawyers' tasks from a rational and empirical basis and grounding them in a larger context. Those interested in clinical teaching will appreciate this supplement to their pedagogy."
--Kandis Scott
Professor of Law, Santa Clara Law

"This book presents an excellent and comprehensive analysis of how we solve problems and make decisions in legal matters. It is a great tool for teaching novice legal decision makers about these critical skills because it breaks down the process into several easily understood but helpful steps. It also is an engaging resource for experienced practitioners and policy makers because it explores the behavioral aspects and systematic biases that underlie our decision making processes. It is a great book for any law student or lawyer who wants to improve her problem solving skills and make better decisions."
-- Kenneth R. Margolis
Professor of Law, Director of the CaseArc Integrated Lawyering Skills Program,
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

"Brest and Krieger offer a thorough and insightful integration of the field of decision making and the legal context. This work offers the necessary overview of behavioral decision research and behavioral economics for legal scholars, and wisdom for any lawyer who wants to make better decisions."
--Max H. Bazerman,
Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

"This book has the rare combination of being accessible to people without any experience in the field, while still being interesting and useful to experts. The authors have done a wonderful job of being both engaging and clear while maintaining rigor, accuracy, and thoroughness. This is an authoritative source for policy makers who want to create psychologically informed policy. I will most certainly be adopting it for courses I teach on the interplay between psychology and public affairs."
-- Daniel M. Oppenheimer,
Associate Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

"This book is not only the most comprehensive text yet written in the field of judgment and decision making. It is an impressive and beautifully organized compilation of the knowledge and insight created during a half-century of research. It will educate veteran researchers as well as students and anyone making important decisions."
--Paul Slovic,
President, Decision Research