Making a list, checking it twice…

Checklists can save lives. They can also prevent malpractice for lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. Last week, NASA used a mountain of checklists to successfully launch a test of the new Orion capsule. Even at the very end, the launch director made sure every box was checked: (video link, just in case)

Some lawyers like to use checklists, but they often run into the problem of not knowing exactly what should go on a checklist. The Checklist Manifesto, by physician and author Atul Gawande, is a perfect short read on how checklists work and the best practices for creating and using them.

I prefer to make my own checklists, but I find I can create better checklists if I have a model to start from. Colorado litigator Jeff Vail has done us all a favor by creating his Litigation Checklist (and sub-checklists) and offering it up for free.

Many of us will have a little downtime over the holidays. I know I’m going to try to find a little time for myself to read and work on some checklists. Let me know if it’s part of your holiday escape as well.


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