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Struggling with Failure as a Lawyer
– Overcoming Lost Cases

As a lawyer, you hope to be successful with any case that you take. However, in some situations, this may not happen. Sometimes, you may lose – whether it’s because the system did not work in your favor, or because your client was guilty of the crime. 

With that in mind, you can’t help the feeling of disappointment that settles on you. You lost the case, so you take it as a failure. What you need to remember is that this type of failure is not final, and there are a few ways to overcome this loss. Read on to find the best ways to cope.

1. Find the Lesson

Lawyers, just like doctors, are in a continuous search for new experiences. The more cases they get, the more experience they earn. So, before you let it get you down, you should try to pull a lesson from it instead. This is something that should be done especially if you believe your client was in the right. 

Think about the things that went wrong. Was it a problem with your evidence or something that you did, or was it a problem with the system? Is there something that you could have done in order to avoid this scenario, or was it out of your hands?

You need to express humility. You can’t always win every case that comes your way. Sometimes, you’ll lose – but the lesson that you will learn from it can push your career further.

2. Look at the Bright Side

We know that after losing a case, this is not the thing that you want to hear. However, in some situations, you need to look at the bright side. For example, let’s say that you are one of the criminal defense attorneys defending someone accused of murder. Let’s also suppose that the person goes to jail because there was solid evidence against them.

That person may have ended up becoming a serial killer if they weren’t in jail. Sometimes, these killers stop, especially after being caught. However, this is not always the case. You did your best, but because you lost, a bad person is behind bars – and can no longer hurt anyone else.

3. Practice Self-Care

Sometimes, you feel like a failure simply because all that stress caught up with you. Because your mind is tired, you are no longer able to process positive things. As a result, your body will keep going downhill. You need to de-stress your mind and body.

To cope, you may want to practice self-care. Get enough sleep, exercise, and make sure you eat healthy (and delicious) food. Take a long bath now and again or practice some yoga. Do the things that make you happy. You might not be in the mood to have fun, but it will help in the long term.

4. Don’t Take Things Personally

Lawyers put a lot of effort into the work that they do, so they will feel like taking things personally when things don’t go their way. They are very passionate about serving justice, so when they don’t succeed, they will always be disappointed.

What they have to remember here is that some things are completely out of their control. If the client that hired you turns out to be guilty or lying, then there is nothing that you can do to prevent the outcome. 

Just look at the Depp vs. Heard trial that blew up the media. The jury decided in favor of Johnny Depp, as cross-examination gave away too many red flags. Even a different lawyer would probably not have succeeded in getting a different result, considering the proof and testimonies.

5. Mind Your Train of Thoughts

Lastly, you need to keep a good eye on your thoughts. After losing a case, your mind can be like a tape recorder, going over every single negative thing that happened with that case – and not only. This can easily lead to various mental health issues. 

Keep an eye on the signs of depression and any other issues that may be of concern. Once you catch it, you may be able to control it. And if you can’t do it by yourself, at least knowing the signs may trigger you into getting the help that you need. 

The Bottom Line

A lost case is not the end of the line. Whatever happens, you need to move forward. You may have all the best intentions, but if the law is not on the side of your client, then you should not let a lost case bring you down.


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