It is difficult when your best efforts for a client appear to have been in vain; especially when you know without a doubt that the result should have been in client’s favor and there are no more avenues left to pursue to right the wrong. Sometimes insult is added to injury when the client does not understand that you did everything humanly possible to help them. We learn at an early age that life is not fair, but to see this concept played out is sometimes very hard to witness. How do we remain professional in these circumstances?
(1) Do not allow your emotions to get in the way. Don’t yell, be overly animated, or allow your body language to show you are upset. For some, keeping neutral facial expressions and not expressing anger and outrage comes naturally, but I believe for a lot of us, it is a learned behavior that comes with experience and effort. If you need to vent, wait until after you leave the forum.
(2) Try not to take things personally. There are often factors involved that play into a decision that having nothing to do with you, i.e. politics, group dynamics, etc.
(3) Stay positive. Set the tone for those around you. “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” (King Henry VI, William Shakespeare)
(4) Respond decisively. Speak with conviction, confidence, and authority – despite the circumstances.
(5) Remain fearless. Do not allow the experience to keep you from pursuing what is just.
Conducting yourself professionally in these types of situations sets an example for those around you. Exhibit civility and self-control. This type of behavior will certainly benefit you in the legal community and in your practice. Though you may lose a battle, losing it with grace is commendable and will be noticed.