I made a big mistake at work recently. Not like, disbarment kind of mistake. A much smaller mistake. But a mistake that was silly and easy to not make and I shouldn’t have made. And as soon as I realized I made it, I felt like the Dumbest Person Ever. Mistakes, they happen. But up until now, mine have been things like typos (which I made on every.single.document. I had to execute for two sisters recently). Mirror wills are a major weakness for me.
So what do you do when you make a mistake? Step one? Own it, but only to yourself and your boss. Never tell the client that you made a mistake, unless it’s actually going to affect the case. Step two? Cover.
For example, when I used to debate in high school, we always covered ourselves by asking, “and where did you get that fact?” when we debated people. So when the opposing counsel mentioned a document that changed the entire case which I could have easily looked up myself, I covered by saying, “well, I’m going to need a copy of that.”
Yes, I looked it up myself as soon as I got off the phone. When I spoke to the opposing party the next time, I began by saying, “I have had a chance to obtain a copy of the document and see that you are correct. Let’s talk about everything else.”
On the bright side, my boss was very understanding. As I confessed what I had done, he simply said, “Oh. Well, lesson learned.”
How do you cover for mistakes?