Passing the Buck

Lawyers boast.  They brag.  The bravado of wins and hallucinations of "zealous advocacy" seeps out from their very pores.  How else can one impress clients? How else can one impress colleagues.  What would you talk about without your "war stories?"  It is, to many, the difference between making it as a lawyer or not.  Mistakes are not made, or at least not admitted.  Mistake is a mistress you do your best to hide from the family. 

Why? Have you never felt like a fraud?  Have you never felt you've no business representing clients?  Have you never felt your insides churning when you realize you made a grievous error?  Good.  Me too.  Quite often. Now own it.  Admit it.  Not just to yourself as you internally and intellectually try and squirm out of the responsibility of the mistake.  Admit it to the client and tell them you'll do everything you can to correct it and do better.  Do not ostrich this.  Do not feign confusion or blame or pass the buck or stall or misdirect or shrug or use anger as a sword.  Own it.  Own it even if the client doesn't know you've made one.

Our phones and our emails and our texts has replaced looking someone in the eye and admitting fault. Saying the words not two feet from the client's face.  Maybe they've paid you thousands.  Maybe their very freedom is on the line.  Maybe they won't forgive.  Irrelevant.  Look at them and tell them that you made an error.  Large or small.   Yes, you may get sued.  Yes, you may lose it all (what you believe to be "all").  You may even deserve it.  Let the chips fall where they may.  The alternative is compromising your very ethos. Each time you deflect, defer and blame, you will lose part of your humanity.  Which is more important to you?  If you don't know, you've no business hanging the framed license that hangs on your wall.