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Bending over backwards Robert Sheridan bobsheridan Clients who pay lawyers to help keep them out of trouble don't want the lawyer to put them into trouble. So the lawyer, who presumably has familiarized himself, or herself, with the booby-traps and pitfalls of the business he's advising, is gonna say be careful, don't do that, or don't say that this way. Otherwise you might get sued.

Getting sued is a pain in the *ss, especially when you say you were right and the guy suing you is wrong. You still have to defend the suit and put up with the aggravation.

So if the lawyer says don't say that until you've checked out a few more things, or don't say it that way, say it this way, you'd better do it that way or save yourself the expense of the advice. It's like the auto mechanic said in the old oil commercial, "You can pay us now, or you can pay us later."

Whether a particular reader who hasn't read the law of the area thinks this is silly is largely beside the point, although some publishers will explain why they express themselves as they do to allay such feelings.

Lawyers take the heat for a lot of things their nonlawyer clients ask them to do.

Sometimes its not a bad idea to imagine yourself in someone else's role, with his responsibilities, and ask what you would do in that situation.


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