So many lawyers, myself included, focus on what we do wrong rather than what we get right. So we’ll hang our head in shame over our messy office, without acknowledging the extraordinary work product that we produced. We’ll fret about our disorganization without giving ourselves credit for hitting deadlines and showing up. We’ll spend hours and hours trying to make a document perfect because we can’t bear the thought of a typo. Or keep our mouth shut at a hearing or event because we fear criticism for saying something stupid.
But what if it turned out that at the end of the day, our greatest flaws could simultaneously be our greatest gift? That was the legacy of beloved solicitor Wendy Templeton, whose absent-mindedness was memorialized in a touching way at the Kilmarnock Sheriff’s Court where she practiced.
As Gregor Kelly, a Senior Partner at Lefevre Litigation shared in a poignant LinkedIn post, over at the Kilmarnock Sheriff’s Court across the pond, there’s a permanent locker with Wendy Templeton’s name on it. The locker houses a spare solicitor’s gown and a selection of pens and paper which may be borrowed freely by solicitors who have forgotten their gown or supplies. The locker stands in memory of Ms. Templeton, who according to the plaque “often forgot her gown, her pens, her paper or her files!” and is a “reminder of her kindness and willingness to help others.” And in fact, Mr. Kelly himself was a beneficiary of that kindness when he forgot his solicitor’s robe on a visit to the court, and borrowed the robe from Wendy’s Locker.
Many of us solos practice alone. As such, we often feel as if we’re the only ones who are careless, forgetful, disorganized, messy – the list of self-flagellation goes on. Social media doesn’t help much either, with colleagues only putting their best face forward or owning up to a shortcoming only after they corrected it.
But all of us are imperfect. Sure, we should always strive to improve, we should also lighten up. Sloppiness and inefficiency aren’t deep or evil character flaws but rather, simple little quirks that make us human and memorable. And if we’re lucky enough, our shortcomings may be the very thing that others celebrate or benefit from long after we’re gone