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Episode 19 - learning from a mistake


Learning from a mistake (Making a mistake – Part 2)


The scene …. Faye emerges from Stefan’s office at LB Law.  He is the firm’s head of risk.  She is anxious, but relieved.

Stefan’s final words (a few moments ago) had been, “Look, I know we all get worried when we have to talk about anything involving mistakes and possible claims. Much better to know about this early and deal with it now. You and the firm need to learn lessons from this.  There’s some really helpful material on the SRA website about reflection and learning. ”  Faye couldn’t fault him really – he had been prepared to listen.  And he hadn’t bitten her head off.  She also now realised that he had not said “Don’t worry, it will all be ok” – and she also realised that she wouldn’t have trusted him if he had.

Kat’s first words (yesterday) had been, “You idiot!  Can’t you concentrate on even the simplest things.  How are you going to sign your competence statement for the SRA?   Don’t you care if we lose the client!   Well I’m head of department and I do care.  You’ve got some serious grovelling to do, starting now!”  So that meeting had gone well. 

Back at her desk Faye was starting to think about what she needed to learn.  She went onto the SRA website trying to remember Stefan’s voice and block out Kat’s.  So what did the SRA actually have to say …

“Recognising when they have made a mistake or are experiencing difficulties and taking appropriate action”.  “Seeking and making effective use of feedback, guidance and support where needed”

“Well thank you Sections A3 b and c. - I think I’ve got that”, muttered Faye. (She then briefly wondered which of the three categories – “feedback”, “guidance” or “support” – Kat’s rant had fallen into.)

“B4 Draft documents which are legally effective and accurately reflect the client’s instructions …”

“Ok, no need to rub it in”, sighed Faye.

“C2 j. Responding appropriately to client’s concerns and complaints”

“Well let’s see if we can just avoid that”.  Faye took comfort from Stefan’s comment that he thought they would be able to manage the client.

“Reflecting on your practice: how to identify your learning and development needs …..What do we mean by reflection etc. etc.”

There was a lot to read here in the “toolkit” and although she was a bit put off by the psycho/management speak, it actually made sense.  She felt that she already did a lot of reflecting about her work and how she worked.  And it would be ok to do some more.


Have your say

In your experience, what is the most likely reaction to someone making a mistake?

Episode 19 - Learning from a Mistake POLL

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Add a comment -  Do you know who to go to if someone makes a mistake - do you have well-understood policies and procedures?

If you do "identify your learning and development needs", is there support and are resources available?  Also, there is a lot of importance placed on "reflection" in the SRA competency framework.  How do you feel about this?  Are you encouraged to do it?

Your comments will be anonymous unless you include your name and any contact details. You choose.


# Lise Seager 2017-09-04 11:33
We are not encouraged to reflect, just record time and bill!
# Simon McCall 2017-09-21 10:23
The message is "learn from mistakes" but the reality is different.
# Simon McCall 2017-09-21 10:24
Depends on the partner - some can be understanding, but some seem to think that they have never made a mistake!
# Mac Mackay 2017-09-21 17:48
Wisdom is what you get from experiences gained without wisdom!
# Mac Mackay 2017-09-21 17:51
Here's one option to help navigate the SRA's CPD Reflective Approach and document that 'reflection and planning':

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