Patrick Lamb has an interesting post on a subject that is nearly taboo for corporate lawyers: mistakes. Part of our DNA is a strain of hubris that seems to prevent admitting a mistake, let alone being open about solving it. A good summary of how to handle mistakes is presented.
I have learned a lot from my mistakes, and I believe how you deal with the mistakes of others is a big part of something called morale.
Another sort of “mistake” is getting some press, and it involves a conversation unintentionally recorded on voicemail. I have done this, and I have had such an unintentional message left on my voicemail. Without thinking about it much, I just deleted it. Seemed like an honest mistake.
The problem with this one is that the lawyer who left the message allegedly wasn’t being that honest. The litigation that ensued is described here, and for some reason the Association of Corporate Counsel has taken up the matter and is trying to undo the privilege waiver at issue legislatively. I seem to remember a law professor remarking that hard cases make bad law.
Polaroid founder Edwin Land once said: “A mistake is a future benefit, the full value of which has yet to be realized.”
In the “wayward voicemail” case, the lawyer left a message all right. Just not the one intended.