30
Sep
10

How To Ruin Your Malpractice Insurer’s Day – III

Ben Stein Is Also A Lawyer

This post is the third based upon a series of books written by the funniest economist in America, Ben Stein.  His series of books are called “How to Ruin Your _________.”  In his series, the “blank” could be your “Life,” your “Love Life,” or your “Financial Life.   

Ben Stein reasons that “failure is a virtual road map to success in reverse.” He advises such nuggets of anti-wisdom in his how to ruin your life book that you refuse to learn any useful skills.  The roadmap to success may not be as clear as the one to ruin, but both maps are useful.      

By doing the opposite of Ben Stein’s advice, perhaps success will come your way.     

By following my advice, a legal malpractice action is inevitable.   

Never document it – an oral conversation is sufficient:  When deals and cases fail, you should never worry. You are certain that the client’s memory will recall that you limited the representation to certain issues, that you never promised that the case was a winner and that you never agreed to also be the client’s business advisor. Besides, you are the lawyer. No jury is going to believe a client’s sour grapes story over your recollection of what was agreed upon three years ago when the representation began.   

* * * *   

A client’s memory can be short, clouded or self-serving. When creating the relationship, documenting the engagement and the scope of the work expected creates clear guidelines and protects you from claims later. When terminating or not taking the representation, documentation helps clarify the client’s expectations and protects you from a clouded memory later. When engaging in any transaction that causes you any concern, such as a risky settlement, documentation can identify the factors that were considered and avoid swearing contests in the future.

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