Attorneys, Luis Suarez and admitting you screwed up

Attorneys, Luis Suarez and admitting you screwed up






I don’t understand why people have so much trouble admitting their mistakes. When you deny deny deny, you lose your chance at a positive outcome. It makes me cringe to see what happens to a person’s credibility and reputation when they fail to own up to things. It’s not easy, but sometimes you have to fall on your sword and move on.  And I’m not talking about defensible situations, I’m talking about when everyone knows you did it.

Take the situation with Luis Suarez, the soccer player who bit another player and then made up some story about how he lost his balance and collided with they guy. He got kicked out of the World Cup, banned from the entire sport for four months and fined around $120,000. And what’s even worse, in my opinion, is he really hurt his reputation by denying what he did. This was his THIRD biting offense. Did he really expect anyone to believe that it was an accident? Apparently, he has a problem.

Two days later, Suarez finally admitted what he did and said it wouldn’t happen again, but the damage was done. I truly believe that if Suarez had admitted what he did right away, apologized, acknowledged he had a problem and vowed to get help, it would have been better for him in the long run. Maybe he would have gained some sympathy and a shorter suspension. He certainly would have saved his reputation a little.

The same thing came to mind when I read about a recent attorney discipline case. The list of stuff this lawyer allegedly did is pretty bad, but he’s standing by his claim that he didn’t do anything wrong. The disciplinary hearing board has recommended a six-month suspension, which has to be approved by the Illinois Supreme Court before it’s final. The case against him includes misleading clients, keeping unearned fees, insulting a bailiff and calling opposing counsel “slut” and “child molester.”

The hearing board’s report says that instead of owning up and apologizing, he made excuses for his behavior. You can’t justify bad behavior by saying that it’s a contentious case. That’s no excuse. Cases do get ugly, but that doesn’t mean professionalism goes out the window. It sounds like the attorney is going to appeal the decision. He’s been a lawyer for 40 years. The original recommendation was for a one-year suspension, but he’s getting some leniency because he has practiced for so many years without incident.

I hope if I ever get caught doing something really stupid that I’ll stand up and admit it. Denying it makes you look like an idiot and makes you so much less trustworthy. Everyone makes mistakes and you can do the right thing and come away with a little respect at the very least. You might argue that it’s harder for a public figure, with so much riding on their public image. But I say it’s all the more reason to come clean. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but honesty goes a long way. Perhaps Suarez has yet to learn this life lesson. He’s only 27. The attorney, on the other hand, should know better.

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