Recently one of the nation’s finest plaintiff’s lawyers lost a lengthy malpractice case and wrote about his experience as well has his reaction. I found his viewpoint interesting and courageous to talk about. He expressed thethought that he was glad he had gone through the experience of losing as a learning experience and my reaction was, I’d rather pass on that. Here, is my response which expresses my view of losing:
Thank you for sharing. It was painful to report, but helpful and took courage. As for my view, you can count me among those who have
absolutely no interest in experiencing losing a case. Like undergoing waterboarding or being shot by a Taser or getting an ugly tattoo, it just isn’t something I have any desire or interest in experiencing almost to the point there are times jury tampering doesn’t seem so evil. So, I look hard at cases offered me. I don’t mean I only take sure wins because my trials clearly demonstrate otherwise, but I do mean seeing if there are inherent issues or characteristics about a case that make it one with such slim odds of success no matter what you do you can’t win. Those cases I avoid. The exception is where there is a significant issue that should be tried even in the face of a likely loss. I’m not Atticus Finch, but there are those cases where you need to sit tal l in the saddle and do what’s right. There are also times in a trial, sometimes right after the jury is selected, that I am checking where the exits are
located and wondering how to sneak out of the courtroom but I’m committed. Those are sometimes just unavoidable. This may have been one of those for you and I feel your pain.
So, he and I have a slightly different viewpoint about this subject. I don’t like to even think about losing cases let alone feel it was a good experience to have done so. I hate losing and fortunately haven’t in many years, However, my practice is different then say the criminal defense lawyer who will have loses no matter how great they are or the lawyer who is willing to take a volume of cases with the knowledge there is a percentage of loss built into that kind of approach. Then there are lawyers who, as they become more successful, refine their selection process to the point they will only take a handful of cases that have the potential for large damages. When it’s all said and done, the real standard is that we represent people with meritorious cases who need representation and can’t get it anywhere else.
Gerry Spence and I are gone next week on our photo safari to Louisana so there will be a delay in posting to this site.