Lawyers Can Benefit from Judicial Heuristics

June 2016
Michael Cortina
Illinois State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar Newsletter, June 2016


Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts that allow people to make decisions based on a set of cues, and do not include all available information. Attorneys can use heuristics to their advantage when employed correctly. In “Lawyers Can Benefit from Judicial Heuristics,” Michael Cortina discusses “System One” and “System Two” processes - two ways of thinking and decision-making. System One is more intuitive, while System Two is more analytical.

These decision-making processes are both are used by trial judges, although they use System Two more often. However, there are cases when System One lends itself better to a situation in the case of quick rulings during trial. An attorney needs to assets which system is more appropriate to use when assisting a client.

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