Carolyn Elefant Attorney at Law

"An American Attorney from Hell"
When Lawyers Make Mistakes
Carolyn Elefant
Special to Law.com
February 07, 2005
<< Advice from the 'Expert'

All lawyers make mistakes. Some mistakes are minor, but others have serious consequences. But what many attorneys lose sight of is that the mistakes themselves don't matter. What does is what lawyers do -- or don't do -- to correct them.

When attorneys discover that they've made a mistake, lawyerly instincts usually kick in: They rationalize that the error is harmless, use argument skills to deny that a mistake has been made, or, as every good witness is taught, refuse to own up to the mistake unless and until the issue is raised by someone else.

In addition, because the obligation to protect client confidences forces lawyers to learn secrecy early on, many attorneys are naturally inclined to conceal their errors. But while acting like lawyers serves clients well in an adversarial process, lawyers don't serve themselves -- or their clients -- when they apply these instincts to addressing errors. Ignoring, rationalizing or concealing mistakes only compounds them.

MAKING A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL ---
Sometimes lawyers will make an argument that sounds good at the time, but after reading opposing counsel's papers, realizes it was a mistake. Of course, most lawyers don't like to admit they're wrong (particularly after an opposing counsel pointed out the error), and instead prefer to pursue an erroneous position rather than concede. Sometimes lawyers get so caught up in refusing to concede that they argue tangential issues and never reach the meat of their argument because they are so adamant in refusing to give in on minor points. Not only does this kind of strategy waste the court's time, but by employing such a tactic, the attorney runs the risk of losing credibility with the court -- which does not serve the client well.

The moral here? If opposing counsel or a judge points out a mistake, admit it when it's appropriate to do so, and move on. http://www.law.com/jsp/law/sfb/lawArticleSFB.jsp?id=1107550994257 -- By Carolyn Elefant Attorney

Posted by Annie 12/05/2010 18.10 (As sent to the Law.Com)
I read with great interest Carolyn Elefant's feature "When Lawyers Make Mistakes" in which she advises Lawyers how to deal with their 'mistakes'. Talk about 'fools march in where angels fear to tread'. Carolyn Elefant recently read an article in the Law Society Gazette concerning the action of an English website, from this she put her own spin on it and accused the wrong website and its author of 'extorting' money from the English Law Society. The Author of the innocent website sent her two emails telling her that her facts were incorrect and asking her to remove the defamatory content from her website, Myshingle.com and to make an apology, this she refused. Carolyn Elefant's friend, Attorney Chuck Newton, eventually told her she had made a disastrous mistake to which some 3 or 4 months later she published a 'Post Removal' not only did she now start to lie about the facts of what happened and what she also said, in her 'Blog' it states her excuse was "I was confused" and "I had made a mistake so I was loathe to apologize". To date Carolyn Elefant has not contacted or made any apologies to the injured party and any retaliation he might take is, I believe, understandable.
What will you do? Nothing of course, you will leave her feature on your website telling Lawyers how to handle their 'mistakes' when she doesn't know how to handle her own.

The saying goes; "It takes a thief to catch a thief", who have you got here 'putting you on the right road'?- Clearly this one giving out advice must be the 'expert' in "how to tell lies when you don't know you are telling them" because of her incompetence in the field of information gathering, possibly caused by a touch of dyslexia, Ms Elefant has published lies and defamatory content about the website SolicitorsFromHell.Com on the Internet and doesn't even know she is doing it, I wonder when it gets through to her she will have the 'Balls' to put her hands-up and acknowledge it. If she does I will certainly tell you all about it. The answer at the moment is No No No No.

Confirmation that a complaint has been sent to the Washington State Bar Association Click Here .

Elefant in a Teacup - --------------This 'Elifant' Tells Lies