In this week’s edition of Young, Hungry & Committed, Annapolis solo lawyer Liz Johnson shares one humbling and enlightening experience she encountered in her solo practice.
I just want to take a moment to point out one humbling experience.
For any new attorneys who come across this blog, don’t think for one second any of us lawyers are perfect, no matter how experienced we may be. I’ve heard other lawyers horror stories, we all have them.
Some of us appear more confident than others, some of us are more detail-oriented than others, but there will always be that one story we all share, that one skeleton in the closet you don’t want others to know about.
So let me just take this opportunity to tell you, that my skeleton story occurred recently. I’m very detail-oriented, it’s one of the few things I know I’m really good at. I’m one of those perfectionists you hear so much about and try to run from because we can be obnoxious in our attempts to be perfect.
Anyways, I recently filed my first case in District Court. I must have looked over my complaint what seems like a million times.
I talked my way through it because that’s how I overcompensate for not having anyone to check my work. Talking it out helps me catch mistakes I may not have otherwise caught. Most of the time, it works just fine. So you want to guess what my first mistake out of the gate was? It was quite a doozy. I can’t even believe it happened. It’s like one of those nightmares you hope never happens to you.
I missed a signature. Seriously. I managed to miss signing one the spots that says SIGNATURE! Yikes!
In my opinion, this is one of the cons to working as a solo. When you’re by yourself, you don’t have the extra pair of eyes on your work that may have caught such a stupid mistake. Fortunately, the world does not end, as the clerk reviewing my file requested that I fix it, and that was that.
So there you have it, my humbling experience that will remain tucked away deep in my closet. But if there is anything to be learned from this, it’s that we are all human. We have all made mistakes like this and world has kept on spinning. So keep your head held high, make those mistakes, learn from them and continue to grow as a lawyer. That’s what I’ll be doing!