Friday, October 19, 2012

That takes a bit of the sting of losing out

I had a contested hearing today. My staff and I worked pretty hard on it (which means my staff did like 98% of the work and then handed all of it to me so I look like I'm on my game in, I freaking LOVE support staff!). But, we didn't win. And of course, that's always at least a little disappointing. It's disappointing even when you know you've haven't got a snowball's chance in hell. Because there is always that tiny part of you that thinks, "Well, maybe..."  I've heard it referred to as trial delusion, since it happens a lot during trial. But I digress...
At any rate, so lost the hearing, which was disappointing, of course. But, my client wanted to talk after the hearing so I met w/ him, thinking he had questions or something. Nope, he just wanted to tell me thank you. And thank you to my staff. He said he knew we had worked hard on the hearing and he was really grateful for the effort we put into it.
Losing sucks, of course, but nothing makes me feel like the work I do matters than when someone says thank you. Especially when we don't get the result that we were hoping for. Because it's easy to be thankful for the attorney who gets the outcome you are hoping for, but it isn't always easy to be pleased when you don't get the result you wanted. So, when clients who don't get the outcome we were aiming for tell me thank you, it means a hell of a lot. And it feels good to give a voice to someone who otherwise may not have one.
And, even the judge said during the hearing (twice!) that I had done a nice job and that I had made compelling arguments. So even though we didn't win, my client felt well-represented and the court acknowledged the work that was put into building my argument. It's nice to know that whether I'm winning or losing, others around me notice when I do good work. It's really stuff like that that makes this job rewarding. Win or lose, I always hope my clients feel like there was someone there to fight for them and to put effort into helping them. And I hope that others recognize the time and effort I put into my cases, trying to be the best advocate I can be and learning how to be a smart and prepared attorney.
It's amazing how much a simple "thank you" can really touch my heart. Especially when it is coming from a client who didn't get the outcome we had hoped for. It takes a bit of the sting out of losing.

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