It happens to the best of us, and it happened to me last week. I f***ed up at work and it pissed a partner off big time. He was right to be pissed, because I f***ed up. My first instinct was to deflect the blame and project it onto him (Too sensitive?? Doesn’t understand the finesse of what I was attempting to achieve??). What it comes down to is this:

I f***ed up.

My customer was NOT happy with the services I provided.

That is all on me, and me alone.

So, what to do if at first you f*** up?

  1. Don’t go into hiding.
  2. Address it immediately.
  3. Take responsibility.
  4. Sincerely apologize.
  5. Lay out how it will NOT happen again.
  6. One more apology.

I get it. When lawyers get mad, they get loud and it can be intimidating. But you need to dig in your heels and listen (as long as it is not abusive). You need to understand how you not only didn’t meet expectations, you did the exact opposite. You have lost their trust. Lawyers are skeptical folks. Once you f*** up big time, they NEVER forget. So how do you fix it?

  1. Resolve the initial issue to their satisfaction.
  2. Once you have apologized, you need to go back and knock one out of the ball park for the same partner.
  3. Show them that you are a professional and ready to move on.
  4. And, no matter what, make it a one-time mistake only.

While they might never really forget the mistake you made, at least your last impression will be a good one.