No one is perfect
Even Carlsberg only say that it’s “probably” the best larger in the world, and cannot say that it definitely is – because it’s subjective. Or perhaps because it might get sued otherwise!
Clients often get upset with themselves for the mistakes they have made. They might feel foolish for having done business with someone without having got a proper contract signed, or without doing full due diligence on them. They trusted them. To be fair, you wouldn’t do business with someone unless you thought you could trust them. In the same way that you wouldn’t marry someone unless you thought they were the love of your life. Both can turn out to be wrong, but before you beat yourself up too much about it, remember that even the best of us make mistakes.
As I often remind clients, if people didn’t get it wrong, you wouldn’t need the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court. I could have gone on to say “or even the European Court of Justice” but perhaps we don’t actually need them! In reality, the court system is full of experienced, educated and well trained Judges, who still make mistakes and have their decisions overruled by superior courts, whose decisions are sometimes overruled again by those even more experienced, better educated and well trained.
But I’m not writing this to tell you things you already know. We all know that people make mistakes, and so I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to you that even very senior judges get it wrong. The only reason I’m mentioning this, is to highlight the wholly unpredictable world of law. This is why, for example, I will never tell you that you have a guaranteed case. You could have a tape recording of the other side admitting liability (as a client of mine had), and I could still find reasons why your recording may not be admissible (prove it’s her, prove that she wasn’t coerced/tricked into saying it, prove that she’s admitting liability on this matter and not something else etc etc etc).
Which means that if your solicitor tells you that your case only has a 70% chance of success, that’s about as good as it gets, because there is always litigation risk – the risk that something could happen that no one could possibly anticipate. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have faith in you or your case, but simply that they are being realistic and honest.
If you wonder why your solicitor is certain that you have a good case, but the other side are still fighting on, that doesn’t mean that your solicitor is wrong. It might mean that the other side are bluffing, or that they know they are going to have to settle, but they don’t want to make it too easy as they think it might be cheaper if they put up a fight. I regularly come across parties who will fight as a matter of principal, because they don’t want word to get around that they are a soft touch. It’s also worth remembering that with every case that goes to trial, there is the possibility that each side is telling their client that they’ve got a good case/defence, and they can’t both be right.
Finally, it’s a good reminder of the benefits of having a clear record of what has been agreed, when and by whom. You may say you don’t have the time and/or money to afford the niceties of contracts, but when you consider the time and/or money plus risk of court proceedings, can you afford not to. You may say that this is just me trying to drum up business, but as litigation is a lot more profitable for solicitors than drafting contracts, I really am looking out for your best interests.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. The mistake is thinking that no one makes mistakes!