A problem often facing new lawyers involved in litigation is a lack of planning and organization at the outset of a case. When presented with a new legal problem, it is useful to organize one position and develop a strategic plan before diving into the deeper technicalities and nuances of the issue. It’s also much easier to have a set procedure in place when brainstorming and planning at the beginning of developing one’s position. There are a wide variety of brainstorming and strategic planning methodologies available. Today I am going to address a strategic planning method often used in business for project planning but with a small bit of modification, it is easily applied to strategic planning in regards to a legal issue.

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or business venture. It involves setting an objective and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies and went on to consult numerous Fortune 500 companies over his lifetime. IBM uses his techniques to this day.

Essentially, a SWOT analysis is a subjective assessment of data which is organized by the SWOT format into a logical order that helps understanding, presentation, discussion and decision-making. For lawyers, the objective in litigation is simply to assure the most favorable outcome for one’s client.

Because there’s too much to fit in here, I just went ahead and put together the whole thing as a brief, 7 page PDF. You can grab it by clicking the image below.  (Adobe Reader or equivalent required. Free download. Most everyone should have this software installed on their machine already.)

Be on the look-out Monday for my 30 Day report on my first month of blogging. Have a good weekend everyone!

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