Rule Number 3
Everything is Your Fault
This rule is my personal favorite. Imagine: You are working on a memo, and you hand your secretary a heavy markup. She makes the changes and hands the document to the partner, who is not pleased with the number of typos in the document. Whose fault is it? Yours.
You are sending documents to the copy shop for reproduction and binding. The documents come back out of order, and the client is upset because the documents are not the way they are supposed to be. Whose fault is it? Yours.
You are working on a brief, and the filing deadline is tomorrow. Suddenly your computer crashes, and your document is lost. The filing deadline is missed, and the suit dismissed. Whose fault is it? Yours.
An earthquake collapses your office building, burying your entire office. Your document is lost. Whose fault is it?
Okay, maybe not this one. But just about everything short of earthquake is your fault. No ifs, no ands, no buts. Your fault. Every time. Law firms function on strict liability. If you touched a project, and anything goes wrong with that project, it is your fault. Causality is irrelevant.
Actually, perhaps “fault” is the wrong word. Maybe “responsibility” is better. The reason for this rule is quite simple. If your task is to get me “A”, then your task is to get me “A”. Not to try for “A”, not to see if you can accomplish “A”, but simply to get “A”. At that point the universe is divided in two: “A”, and “not-A”. Anything that isn’t “A” is “not-A”, and will not make me happy. I don’t care why you gave me “not-A”, all I know is that I now have “not-A” when I specifically asked for “A”. Reasons, causes, excuses, good intentionsall are irrelevant and uninteresting to me. Get me “A”.