In his book "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell takes an in-depth look at the power of rapid cognition, which is the ability to make quick judgments of people or situations within a very short period of time. Gladwell convincingly argues that these judgments, whether they be of other people or situations, are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but in all cases they are real.

Many of my colleagues believe, as I do, that jurors tend to decide the winners-and-losers in a lawsuit very early in trial. Considering this, the litigator's ultimate challenge is to distinguish bad character from bad judgment and bad judgment from bad luck, and to craft these things in a believable narrative to which people can relate very quickly.

Good plaintiff cases tend to involve bad characters exercising questionable judgment, or decent fellows exercising bad judgment. Great plaintiff cases involve bad characters exercising really bad judgment.

One of the keys to an overwhelmingly successful settlement is for your opponent to believe you can and will present a convincing narrative of bad characters exercising horrific judgment. Punitive damages may be in store if you actually do it.