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Reverse Brainstorming in Everyday Legal Practice First off, “Reverse Brainstorming” has become management jargon today, but it is a process used over centuries by the best minds practicing law. Simply put, “reverse brainstorming” is the habit of putting yourself in the shoes of the other party and thinking out possible courses of actions by an adversary and the outcomes.

The same method is used to prepare and structure

Try to find law and precedents that would allow

the arguments in a brief really, but instead of only

maximum compensation or penalty and how to

considering what the attorney on the other side

utilize/neutralize or reduce/enhance their appli-

might say or do, one also has to give the greatest

cation

consideration to what the bench may say or do

– clinching arguments are difficult to conceive without reverse brainstorming.

Do not engage in summary rejection of ideas without investigation

Use the insight gained to strengthen and structure your own case

Reverse brainstorming approaches the process of finding solution to a problem in a ‘reverse’ manner.

Lawyers, good lawyers, usually think in this manner,

Rather than thinking about how to solve the

but the need to highlight ‘reverse brainstorming’ still

problem, you start with thinking about how to cause

remains because it is rarely ‘seen’ as a distinct tool in

the problem, the different methods that might be

the arsenal of an attorney, or as a habit to cultivate as

employed, how it can be pulled off successfully, or what

seriously as managers do. Many a time, with growth

could be the outcomes. Thinking in this manner helps

of experience and confidence, attorneys start looking

to reconstruct the mindset of the party committing a

for short cuts and start missing the obvious. They give

violation or infringement of the rights of your client,

up the habits they cultured as students and as young

and can allow you to find chinks in the armor of your

lawyers, and start depending upon the ‘feel’ or instinct.

opponent. Rather than taking a straight approach, you

And it happens because of the acute shortage of time in

put yourself in the shoes of the attorney on the other

the life of an attorney. So, many attorneys who already

side and try to win the case from that perspective in

know well of the method of ‘reverse brainstorming’ skip

your mind by applying law, logic and evidence.

it to save time or efforts. But they would have fared better if they made ‘reverse brainstorming’ an integral

A guide to use the reverse brainstorming method can

part of their work processes and not on something to

include the following steps

call on only when required.

• • • •

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Identify the problems and the laws/rights which

Once you have been through a thorough reverse

might have been infringed

brainstorming session, creating the brief for your

Identify possible penal or civil outcomes note

client becomes much easier, more structured, and your

them down

arguments tend to carry the maximum punch. On the

Identify possible laws or stare decisis that might

other hand, if your reverse brainstorming session yields

aid the cause of the other side

time and again that your opponent has an easy win

Try to find law and precedents that would help

that is difficult to prevent, then it is better to convey

you to win the case as the other side

the same to your client and seek the help of seniors.

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Reverse Brainstorming in Everyday Legal Practice  

Reverse brainstorming is a technique used by lawyers where they put themselves in the shoes of their opponents to win the case from that per...

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