WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT LAW SCHOOL IV: OWNING AND FIXING YOUR MISTAKES
The Fourth in this series goes to Pennsylvania and looks at an article by Elizabeth Collura in Lawyerist.com – Recognisizing, Owning and Fixing Your Mistakes. This is short but to the point. Mistakes happen, they are rarely disastrous. It is a failure to address the mistake promptly that will cause real grief.
DO NOT DWELL
A common theme of the guidance we have looked at so far is that mistakes will happen. The real problems arise when there is an attempt to hide or cover them up. Elizabeth Collura’s view is if you make a mistake:
- Do not dwell or make excuses. However an explanation is very different from an explanation.
- Do not panic
- “Focus on the task in hand and save the brooding for later”.
ARTICULATE AN ACTION PLAN
- Communicate clearly the steps you plan to take to remedy the problem.
- Give details of the expected timeline and the likelihood of success.
- Put your plan into action straight away.
- Demonstrate that fixing the problem is your highest priority.
IDENTIFY MISTAKES IN ADVANCE IF YOU CAN
- There are few errors that are truly unfixable.
- Time and experience are the only real teachers.
- Try to discuss matters with a colleague.
“Look for any opportunity to talk a tricky situation through. Through this process you will hopefully be able to identify and head off future problems before they erupt, or at least contain the fallout.”
- What they don’t teach you at law school: turning the other cheek
- What they don’t teach you at law school II: Pareto, Parkinson & you’ll become what you think you’ll become.
- What they don’t teach you at law school III: thrive and survive
- Litigators: what do you do when things go wrong: 10 key points
- Being a litigator – when it all gets too much.
- Litigation: what is an appropriate case load and is it important?
- Litigators, litigation and the appropriate case load 2: “It’s nuts”.
- Litigation and workload 3: insurers
- In litigation, as in life, things will go wrong: having a strategy in place.
- Stress, litigation and litigators: useful links to avoid and deal with problems.
- Dealing with fish files: overcoming procrastination.