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New website allows junior lawyers to anonymously share ‘Oops!’ moments

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Aims to ‘change the culture of unhelpful perfectionism in the legal industry’

A new website has launched allowing junior lawyers around the world to anonymously share their “Oops!” moments and mistakes.

Legal Lookbacks launched last month with the aim to “change the culture of unhelpful perfectionism in the legal industry”.

The site, which has been set-up by junior lawyer Rebecca Chui, allows vacation scheme students through to trainees, paralegals and junior associates to honestly discuss their screw-ups, comment on other entries, and learn from others’ mishaps.

Already there are 15 entries, with mistakes ranging from misspelling the firm’s name, sending an old version of a document to be signed, forgetting to diarise court dates or change email subject lines, and, in one instance in the US, a rookie accidentally releasing an alleged criminal who should’ve been held in custody!

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

One anonymous property solicitor shared this nugget back from when they were a junior:

“As a junior associate I read a client letter as an instruction to consent to assignation of a lease. It was written in a way I interpreted as ‘I’ll consent even though I’m not happy about [thing]’. The client meant ‘I’ll consent but not until I am happy about [thing]’. I wrote to the tenant confirming consent and the client went ape poo.

This was my first lesson in the ‘check, check, then check again’ school of thought. Enthusiasm, eagerness to do what you imagine is the right thing for all, or just a desire to go to lunch: none is an excuse for making certain a thing is done right. Could the client have written the instruction more clearly? Yes, but my job was to be sure what they meant, not do what I expected them to mean. Clearing up the mess took waaaay longer then triple checking the work.”

Other lessons learnt include checking numbers (“typos sometimes matter, wrong numbers nearly always matter”) and whether attachments have been sent, escalating matters to supervisors rather than carrying the burden on your own, and to remember, “sometimes things aren’t as big issues as they seem”.

The website launch comes after concerns that junior solicitors are being routinely struck off the roll for acting dishonestly.

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