The Value of Checklists

By: Ryan Scott, Trial Attorney/Chief Litigation Officer/Catastrophic Injury Division

“While there is no doubt most of life is an art, and flexibility is key, the use of a checklist, even in the most complex situations can be a simple solution to complex problems.” 

Author Atul Gawande notes the usefulness of checklists in both the most complex procedures and ordinary everyday life in his book The Checklist Manifesto.  Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, notes that a simple solution, a checklist, is used for some of the most complex issues, from flying airplanes to brian surgery.  Here at Bailey & Oliver, we follow Dr. Gawande’s lead, and use checklists on everything -- from in-office procedures to planning the most complex litigation cases (e.g. tractor-trailer cases, electrocution cases, and burn injury cases).

Checklists can be used in everyday life as well.  Checklists provide a “cognitive net" and catch mental flaws inherent in all of us. That is why they can be useful planning an errand day, or doing maintenance around the house, AND for doing complicated tasks at work.  Careful though, poorly thought out and poorly designed checklists can have the opposite effect.  They can actually hinder efficiency and cause more mistakes.  Good checklists are simple, brief, and to the point.

Try it out.  You may be amazed at the results even the most basic checklists have on your everyday productivity.  The value of checklists at Bailey & Oliver has proven itself over and over again to our staff and our clients!  You can read more about The Checklist Manifesto here.