Lawyers Journal

Autumn light

That slanting, sideways light coming from one direction in early morning and coming from the other in late afternoon has always been a favorite of mine. For me, it has always signaled the transition from warm summer days to chilly autumn nights, Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

This change also reminds me that every now and then we need to look at our lives, our practices, our relationships and our role as lawyers in a different way, a different light.

Change is good, and the willingness of each of us to sit back every now and then and think about what we are doing as lawyers and how we are doing it, is essential. Do we hold to a usual routine, day in and day out, because it's the easiest way to get through the day? Do we challenge ourselves every day to be better at what we do, to add value to the representation of our clients?

Too often, we succumb to routine, and routine leads to boredom. Boredom, unfortunately, leads to sloppiness and sloppiness to mistakes. When we do things too quickly because a client demands something the next day, we often sacrifice quality for expediency to satisfy that client's needs. But is this really "good" service? Is this really satisfying the needs of that client? If work is done too quickly, is it the best product we can generate?

The best way to serve our clients is by providing them with quality work. An efficient and timely response is necessary, but generating our best work in a thoughtful way is much more important. Too often, when I have served as an expert witness testifying about an attorney's required duty of care in malpractice cases, it is the work product generated too quickly and without sufficient thought and care that has caused the problem.

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Think about what you're doing. Every now and then look at your work in a new way, maybe sideways. Better yet, have someone else look at it for you. Our profession is a service profession and until we realize that we need to generate the very best quality work for our clients every day we practice, we will not satisfy the duty each and every one of us owes to our clients. They deserve nothing less and we should not settle for providing less. Try some autumn light.

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