Apologies in the Practice of Law

The ABA Journal recently posted a very good article on apology that encompasses all aspects of legal practice: The Last Word: When the Last Thing You Want to do is the First Thing You Ought to do. Many articles have been written about apology as a component of mediated settlements, and I’ve given workshops on how to handle the apology in mediation. This article goes beyond apology in settlements: It talks about how we lawyers ought to incorporate apology into the way we inter-act with other lawyers, and with our clients. Like one of the lawyers interviewed in the article, I had to apologize to another attorney after leaving an angry message in his voicemailbox. I have also had to apologize to mediation parties when I’ve slipped up. It’s embarrassing, but it’s the right thing to do.

It also honors God, so¬†Christians ought to lead the way on how to do this well. But in fact we’re not very good at this, so I appreciate the tools and encouragement from Peacemaker Ministries to help us make sincere¬†apologies/confessions. A very helpful tool is the “Seven A’s of Confession.” Bad apologies can actually make things worse, so the Seven A’s give me a better chance to make a sincere apology that will put things right.

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