Jan 28, 2021

One of the things I discuss in my book “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” is about lawyers taking responsibility for the outcome of a case.

I have noticed that the legal community seems to believe that a lawyer’s job is simply to manage the litigation process and go through the necessary steps and not have any responsibility for the outcome. They seem to point the finger at the “adversarial nature of the legal system”. In other words, what they seem to say is that because of the nature of the legal proceedings, they take no responsibility. I find this to be a cop out – a way to shirk responsibility. I thought lawyers are trained specifically to be able to deal effectively with this adversarial nature of the legal system. And that’s why we are paying the big bucks for the lawyers to be able to handle this adversarial nature. The meaning of the word “adversarial” is “involving or characterized by conflict or opposition”. So what I am hearing from the legal community is that because the lawyers have to deal with conflicts or opposition, they have no responsibility as to the outcome of the case.

Once again I go back to my example of a professional football game. In a professional game there is an opposition and one cannot always predict what the opposition might have in store for them. But the team cannot say that “we have no responsibility because we had an opposition and we had no idea what they could bring to the game”. Most professional teams will take responsibility for the outcome and will analyze what they could have done better and be responsible for their own performance.

I believe that’s what professional lawyers need to do especially after a loss. They need to think hard to figure out what they could have done better or differently that could have resulted in a more positive outcome.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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