Thinking Without Thinking, The Florida Probate Litigation Blog, Stephen Colbert and … Legal Malpractice?

Juan Antunez of The Florida Probate Litigation Blog connected Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink and legal malpractice in this great post.

The Book:
From Mr. Gladwell’s site, Blink is about “about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, “Blink” is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.”

Legal Malpractice:
Juan’s discusses two cases (here and here) about “a $71 million jury verdict entered against a large Texas firm for estate planning malpractice even though this same jury found that the client had suffered zero economic damages; and […] a $1.2 million jury verdict against a large Florida firm for estate planning malpractice even though the plaintiff in that case alleged only $1 million in damages.”

Juan’s point is that “non-economic factors were far more important than economic factors in determining the outcome of these cases.”

An excerpt from the book about medical malpractice:

Believe it or not, the risk of being sued for malpractice has very little to do with how many mistakes a doctor makes. Analyses of malpractice lawsuits show that there are highly skilled doctors who get sued a lot and doctors who make lots of mistakes and never get sued. At the same time, the overwhelming number of people who suffer an injury due to the negligence of a doctor never file a malpractice suit at all. In other words, patients don’t file lawsuits because they’ve been harmed by shoddy medical care. Patients file lawsuits because they’ve been harmed by shoddy medical care and something else happens to them.

What is that something else? It’s how they were treated, on a personal level, by their doctor. What comes up again and again in malpractice cases is that patients say they were rushed or ignored or treated poorly. “People just don’t sue doctors they like,” is how Alice Burkin, a leading medical malpractice lawyer, puts it. “In all the years I’ve been in this business, I’ve never had a potential client walk in and say, ‘I really like this doctor, and I feel terrible about doing it, but I want to sue him.’ We’ve had people come in saying they want to sue some specialist, and we’ll say, ‘We don’t think that doctor was negligent. We think it’s your primary care doctor who was at fault.’ And the client will say, ‘I don’t care what she did. I love her, and I’m not suing her.’”

“Don’t be a jerk.” “Nice trumps negligence”

I love this! I never would have put the two together (probably because I haven’t read the book yet). Reading Juan’s post reminded that Mr. Gladwell had been on The Colbert Report. The video is below for your enjoyment:



Thanks Juan!

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