Friday, January 27, 2012

Honesty is a pretty good policy

No, that's not the way I learned it either. But I think that's the way it is.

I'm not talking about softening the sharp edges of honesty for questions like, "Do these jeans make my butt look big?"

One can always safely give an honest answer to that question, as long as one is... careful. For example, explanations must be avoided at all costs. "No" is a perfectly sufficient -- and honest -- answer, especially where the explanation might be something like "your butt was big to begin with."

I'm thinking instead about the candid disclosure of unhappy information to prospective business partners or referral sources. I've touched on this subject before. Basically, when things are going great, lawyers insist they are on the edge of bankruptcy; when things are at their worst, lawyers tend to insist that all is well. Think about it: Would you feel comfortable entrusting your fortune or future or perhaps your very freedom to someone who's trying to keep the phone company from acting on its Red Notice?

I didn't think so.

So the lawyers who are obviously the most prosperous cry poormouth -- while the lawyers in desperate straits try and look prosperous and cheerful.

And we expect people to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

So... the lawyer who is plummeting into the abyss needs to reach out for help, for assistance, for cases -- but how? Too much sad truth and one is branded a leper; too much false bravado and possible sources of business may conclude that you don't really need their work.

I am sorry to say that this is my challenge for 2012. If I figure out how to do this, you may be fairly certain that I'll start to cry poormouth. So how, Dear Reader, will you know the difference?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

gosh i just hate this curmy, so sorry. hope it changes (for the better) soon...

and thanks for all your kind words, they really mean so much!

smiles, bee

Kacey said...

Does graduating from a big time laws school (PennLaw)instantly change you into this la-de-da realm of never quite admitting what is going on in your life? Our #1 grandson graduated (PennLaw) and has been going with another PennLaw graduate. He is 150 grand in the hole and cannot get engaged until he can afford a rock worthy of two PennLaw grads. Both have good jobs in New York, but need this outward symbol of success. Is Sidley-Austin good enough to support a New York lifestyle without living like mid-western ladder climbers? I'm hoping he is not ashamed of his roots.

The Curmudgeon said...

Kacey -- Sidley Austin is a fine, silk-stocking Chicago firm (they merged with a New York firm some years back) and graduating from Penn should be a ticket into the Upper Class. And I agree: Too many of the kids these days fall into the we've-got-to-have-it-all-now category. I don't think it's possible either. But, then, the Rich are supposedly different from thee and me -- and your grandson seems to have a grasp on the top rung. It may work out OK. I hope so.