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Do the Right Thing, Always

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I recently heard someone on a podcast say part of why he thinks his children have grown up to be good young adults included ingraining in them the idea of “doing the right thing, even if it sucks.” Many times, doing the right thing is easy (and some people still choose doing the wrong thing). Other times it is hard.

In my work, an example is when a calendaring or similar mistake is made and may negatively affect the client. I haven’t had this happen in a long time, but when it has happened it may have been my error, or an error by another attorney on my team, or my assistant. In those situations, I have the opportunity to lay or take the blame. Human nature is to blame others, but it’s wrong. In these situations, I am the outward facing client contact and leading the team. I always take the blame even if I know it was someone else’s fault. My clients look to me. To do something different would look like passing the buck, and likely have a negative effect on that attorney client relationship.

After hearing the gentleman on the podcast say “do the right thing, even if it sucks,” I thought about how to impart this pearl of wisdom is to my children. The opportunity to do so was right in front of me. My youngest had summer homework to finish before school started a few weeks later. My wife and I even had him make a to do list for the coming days so he could finish it all with time to spare. So, imagine my (non-existent) surprise when I found him playing video games or streaming shows on Netflix every morning. In that case the doing right is for him is to do his homework before the activities he finds fun, which can be hours long blackholes. And, like all of us growing up, he thinks homework sucks.

The point is that this saying applies to both large and small issues. As you go through your day, see how many times it fits a given situation. I have discovered it works at home, at the office, and otherwise. Plus, doing the right thing is something good to be known for, even more so when not doing so is easy, and no one else will know. But you will know and that would suck.

As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.


About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000