Imperfection is Perfect

I made a note some months ago about a conversation with a then-potential client. He asked me about prior results and experience, and I responded per usual with something like this:

Well, I’ve had success with cases like yours. I’ve even had some really great results. But, you should know that, even after 8 years of practicing military law, I’m not perfect. I’ll try my damndest to get a great result for you, absolutely. In addition to knowing all the good stuff, you should also know that I’ve gotten my ass kicked in the courtroom, and a few of my clients will still be in prison for the next 10 to 20 years. In fact, I only know of one lawyer who says he never lost a case, but I’m not sure if I believe that. If past results are extremely important to you, I’d look around, because my past is anything but perfect. I can’t guarantee results, only effort. If perfection is what you seek, then I’m not the lawyer for you.

He thanked me politely as we ended the conversation a minute or two later. I figured I’d never hear back from him.

A week later, he became my client, and stated something to the effect of this (paraphrased):

I called one guy, and he told me that he could guarantee me a win. I called another and he told me he hasn’t lost a case since 2000-something. I decided to go with you because you didn’t seem full of shit.

I don’t consider it a compliment because it was merely comparative. However, I think we’re a good fit, and that’s what really matters when someone entrusts part of their life or livelihood to me.


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