Own Your Losses

As a trial lawyer we win some, we lose some.  That’s the nature of the game.  When we win it is easy to believe that we won because we are great.  We won because we did what we had to do to win.  The result of that jury contest was completely within our control and we executed our plan towards victory.

When we lose though, we tend to feel differently about the contest.  The jury got it wrong.  The evidence was just not in our favor.  No one can win that case.  You’ve probably told yourself something like that after a loss at least once. I know I have.  It is natural to think those things because it makes you feel better about what happened.  But this natural reaction is holding you back.  This natural reaction is preventing you from going back and evaluating your performance objectively.

Change Your Mindset

You owe it to yourself, and your clients, to change your mindset.  After every trial, specially a loss, you should ask yourself why you lost.  Was your jury selection as good as it could have been? Was your cross as effective as you needed it to be? Did you choose the right story for the case?  Was the order and presentation of the evidence as powerful as it could have been? If you are honest with yourself you will realize that the answer to some of these questions is “no.” Some of cases you have lost you could have won.  Most cases, no matter how difficult, can be won.  A case presents a problem in the same way that putting a man on the moon presented a problem for NASA back in the 60’s.  If we can figure out how to shoot a multi-ton aircraft into space and make it reach a moon a quarter of a million miles away you can certainly figure out how to convince six (or twelve) people to vote in your favor.

If you own your loses in this way you will always be challenging yourself and improving.  Be your toughest critic. Be constantly evolving.



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