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Winning?

How much control do we have over results in litigation? I don't think anyone really knows. There are so many variables in how a court reaches a decision. It is important to keep in mind that our control over outcomes is limited, at best. I was recently involved in a case where there were prior decisions going in opposite directions. The judge, as is often true, had enough supporting case law to decide either for or against the plaintiff. I like to think that our efforts had something to do with the judge reaching a decision in our favor, but I readily acknowledge that there are other judges that would have reached the opposite conclusion.


The problem is that I am much likelier to acknowledge the limited control that lawyers have in the results that are favorable to our clients. When a decision goes the other way, I often view it as my fault (even though objectively, I understand that my impact is limited). This is a common perception among those with anxiety and/or imposter syndrome. We tend to (or at least I tend to) think that when things go well, I lucked out, and when things go badly, it was all my fault.


I am still learning to accept and acknowledge that we have limited control, but it's an important thing to keep in mind. Our worth is not determined by any particular result. Most lawyers will tell you that they have won cases they thought they would lose or lost cases that they thought they would win. Accepting our value regardless of outcome is very difficult, but I think that ultimately, it is a necessity.


I'm still working at it, but it is a struggle. It is easy to feel valued after a win, but feeling valued after a loss is difficult (or at least it is for me). Sometimes this is because we are more likely to get paid for our services if we win (even if you're not in a contingency relationship), but we need to remember that our value is there no matter the outcome.

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