Admitting Mistakes

On Point, a talk show on NPR, has a very interesting broadcast on accepting blame (you can listen to it for free over the internet.) Carol Tavris, a social psychologist in California, talks about her book “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me).” She highlights how our culture is not very good at admitting mistakes and that it is now common to hear politicians use the passive tense (“mistakes were made”.) She warns about what she calls the “dangers of blind righteous certainty” and suggests that this problem goes way beyond politicians.

This is very relevant to all professionals including lawyers. Clients rely on lawyers for their professional judgment and pay a high premium for quality legal advice. But how often do most lawyers admit that they have given clients the wrong advice? When was the last time you apologized to a client for steering him or her down the wrong path?

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