THE SLG ADVISOR
617.889.5000 | SPADALAWGROUP.COM
A Matter of Integrity
When Mistakes Are Made
B usinesses like to claim they have integrity. It’s the kind of thing that sounds good in an ad. But integrity isn’t a buzzword to use boastfully. In fact, when genuine, having integrity won’t get you any sort of fanfare. Integrity is done quietly, and it’s doing the right thing when no one is watching. Over the last 20-plus years, we’ve represented close to 5,000 injured clients in personal injury cases. The practice of law can be a rough-and-tumble business, and I’m humbled by what we’ve accomplished over the decades. One thing I am truly proud of — and I’m probably jinxing things by even mentioning this — is that after representing thousands of people, we have not had one complaint about our firm to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, which is an independent administrative body established to investigate and evaluate complaints against attorneys. No one has ever felt the need to call the Board to complain about our firm or practices. In our line of work, such a statistic is noteworthy. While reflecting for this article, I thought back over my years of work and tried “Building trust requires nothing more than telling the truth.”
to remember instances where we made an error that “could” have been reported to the Board — the kind of situation that had the potential to negatively impact our client and their case. Only two such cases came to mind. I wish that number was zero, but you’ve got
It’s not good for any business to make consequential errors, but owning up to these mistakes really cemented the trust we had with our clients. We didn’t try to deflect blame or spin the story. We were honest, even when it didn’t make us look good. In doing so, our clients walked away thinking, “I have the kind of lawyers who will make sure I’m the first to know about a problem if it happens and are honest.” In both situations, I was reminded that people are very forgiving. Most just want to be treated fairly and honestly. Building trust requires nothing more than telling the truth. Acting with integrity doesn’t earn you showy accolades, and it’s not always comfortable, but it does have its rewards. The culture of integrity we’ve cultivated at Spada Law Group is the reason we’ve been able to help close to 5,000 people without having a single Board complaint. We want our clients to know that we will put their well-being over our own self-interests should a mistake ever occur.
to admit that two out of 5,000 isn’t too bad. And I am talking about honest errors, not anything unethical. In both situations, our error posed a threat to the case and could have made it harder or impossible for our clients to recover damages. Since I’m the leader of the firm, any errors ultimately rest on me. These two mistakes happened many years apart, but in both cases, the first thing I did after discovering the problem was get on the phone with the client and invite them in for a meeting. The clients and I sat down, and I explained what happened, how it could possibly impact their case, and what their legal rights were in that situation. We were completely transparent about what had happened. In both cases, I was pleasantly surprised by how the clients reacted. Neither client was happy about the situation, understandably so, but they both decided to stay with us as we tried to remedy the situation. Not only did these clients not fire us, not call the Board, nor hire new lawyers, but in the years following their cases, both clients referred other clients to us!
This is something I am truly proud of.
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