Transitioning from articling to being a newly minted lawyer is difficult under normal circumstances. Navigating this transition through COVID-19 with ever-changing statutes, regulations and Notices to the Profession is quite another. As lawyers, we hold ourselves to a certain level of perfection. As such, our clients hold us to this expectation as well. However, we are all still humans and mistakes do happen. So, what do we do when we make mistakes?
Practice Management Helpline
The Practice Management Helpline is extremely friendly and supportive. Upon realizing a mistake has been made, undoubtedly you think of the consequences. As a new lawyer, a Law Society complaint is especially daunting and frightening (I just got my license-please don’t take it away from me yet!). However, the Practice Management Helpline can help walk you through the complaint process and how best to prepare. I was absolutely petrified to call this line and just thinking about it gave me anxiety. However, after making the call I wished I had done it sooner. The person I spoke with had been doing this for 17 years and had heard it all. They were extremely comforting and reassuring, and I recommend them highly to anyone who is struggling.
LawPro is another great resource to reach out to. Again, I was concerned about sharing this mistake for fear of losing my license. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. If you are aware there may be a potential claim against you, you can provide notice of a claim online. Here you outline all the steps taken, upload relevant documents, and then a claims counsel is assigned to you. Claims counsel will then review all of the information and get in touch with you for a phone call to discuss next steps to mitigate a claim actually being brought. All of this is available without triggering your deductible. If you are unsure whether to even provide a notice of claim, you can email PracticePro for guidance as well. It is a fantastic resource and I wish I had known about it earlier.
As a solo lawyer it is easy to feel alone. However, I have found that there is a diverse group of lawyers willing to offer support. When I realized I made a mistake I immediately reached out to a more experienced lawyer I trusted but who I knew would give me solid advice. It was uncomfortable at first to admit to someone I respected that I had made a mistake, but they were extremely helpful and supportive.
So next time you find yourself silently spiraling over a mistake you made, know that there is a network of lawyers and resources available to assist you. Before you do something rash in an effort to fix it all yourself seek out one or all of these options to get some objective advice on how to proceed.
Any article or other information or content expressed or made available in this Section is that of the respective author(s) and not of the OBA.