Towards honesty

november 02, 2022

POSTED BY: zoë bloom

Autumn is always really positive within the legal world. Few of us are immune to the newschoolterm-ness of autumn with freshly sharpened pencils and tight fitting shoes.  Everyone seems pretty busy. The directories come out giving people the warm fuzzies as they climb the rankings and hear nice things that clients and colleagues say about them. There are conferences, court dates, new matters and legal developments which inspire and excite. Coffees and lunches buzz with the perennial question of whether you’re busy/functioning and what comes next. It’s a patter we indulge in without really thinking. An easy way to help each other or assess the competition.

But rarely do we hear hesitancy in the responses. We aren’t told about people’s worries about their work flow or job security. We might exchange horror stories of difficult opponents or complicated clients, but the impact of those experiences is rarely explored. It is safer to laugh. Safer, because to admit that criticism hurts and that you are scared and have doubts about the future is weak. It shows vulnerability. It will be exploited. 

There’s a market now, in providing support and supervision for family law solicitors. We cannot continuously work with other people’s conflict, turmoil and distress and remain unaffected ourselves. For this reason it is obviously needed and will develop over time. Hurrah for that. But don’t you think. Maybe. There would be less to fix if we weren’t all so bloody scared of being a bit more honest. A bit more vulnerable. If those with more experience didn’t say ‘ach, its just another bat shit oppo’ and instead said ‘seeing their email arrive makes me feel sick and I am constantly questioning myself despite the fact I’ve been doing this job for twenty years’’. Or instead of ‘yeah, busy thanks’ they replied ‘I don’t have enough to do and I can’t see what is in the pipeline. Can you help?’.

We cannot rely on other people fixing our difficulties. If we want to develop as a profession then accepting our own vulnerability and that of others would be a good place to start.