One of the hallmark traits of a lawyer is their love of solving problems.

It’s a key part of our roles as lawyers. And we also have a fear of being wrong which stems from the fact that lawyers generally:

  • have a high level of scepticism
  • are mostly introverted
  • have very low resilience
  • are highly cautious and
  • are often perfectionists

(Source: Dr Larry Richard – What Makes Lawyers Tick)

Low resilience makes lawyers vulnerable to criticism and resistant to making a mistake.


Making mistakes, dealing with them, getting back up and getting on with life helps build our resilience.

Resilience is touted as the most important difference between those who accomplish their goals, and those who don’t. We need to embrace the fact that making mistakes is actually a positive and necessary part of life as a lawyer. It expands our abilities and our minds to assist us to solve problems for ourselves and our clients in newer ways.

It was Albert Einstein who said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

What if we gave ourselves permission to make mistakes?

Imagine the change in communication style. Perhaps a move from verbose and unclear advice and drafting to advice that is decisive, succinct and clear.

If we remain afraid of making mistakes, we won’t leave our comfort zone, and we are denying ourselves and our clients of opportunities.

To err is indeed human. Even for lawyers.

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