With only 24 hours in the day, you’re going to make mistakes.

I recently wrote about when things went awry with my real estate lawyer.

After alerting her to a rocky start, the situation got worse.

Most mind-blowing… flipping “buyer” (me) and “seller” (them) in an agreement, if uncaught, would have meant that I was completely unprotected during a month post-closing when the sellers would still live in the condo.

If you read legalese, feel free to gawk:

“Buyer hereby covenants and agrees to indemnify and hold Seller harmless from any and all claims of any kind or character whatsoever by Seller’s use and occupancy of the Property….”

Or as a friend summed it up: “She’d written the sellers can stay and trash the house!”

Heading exploding, with the five-day clock ticking, I reached out to “Linda” again.

I asked her to please personally read the documents… when she felt like they were in shape, to let me know so I could review them then.

Linda begrudgingly agreed but, version after version, I kept finding errors.

She has an associate attorney and a paralegal, but I lost hours as editor.

The day before closing, a tart cherry on top, Linda had the nerve to increase her fees – with a smiley face: 

“Sheila – since we drafted (and redrafted and redrafted – 😊) the PCPA, my Letter of Engagement advised you that my fee is $250.”

After a dismal experience, Linda could have tried to repair our client relationship. Instead, she captained a nose-dive.

Everyone makes mistakes. The difference is how they handle them.

Your choice: when clients inevitably recount the story, do you want them to be impressed with how you handled things – or warning people not to work with you?

When they recount the story of how your team member handled things, do you want your clients to be speaking highly of your firm – or gossiping because they cannot believe how things went down?

These days, people are less patient, less tolerant, and less likely to let things slide… which leads to more make-it or break-it situations.

When a situation goes downhill (and when you have a role in that roll), what could you do to heal things?

A helpful question: If you were the client, what would make you feel relieved (so you don’t feel compelled to keep others from the same disappointing experience)?

Can you think of a time when someone you were working with saved the relationship?

  • Perhaps with a sincere apology…?
  • A refund…?
  • An assurance of triple-checking moving forward…?

I’d love if you’d comment below and tell me about it.

Avoiding explosive endings,


PS. Wanna read part one of the lawyer story? 

Sheila Devi is an Executive Life Coach.

–> One-on-one, she helps clients to navigate professional and personal challenges so they have more time to focus on what’s most important (and can be more successful in all of it).

–> Sheila also works with high-pressure organizations, such as law and accounting firms, to increase employee morale, engagement, and retention.

Currently in Chicago, Sheila works primarily virtually so she can help no matter where you’re based.

To talk with Sheila about how she can help you and/or your company, please email sheila@sheiladevi.com.

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