Getting Over The Fear of Loss

In the high-stakes world of law, fear can be a formidable adversary. 

It can cause lawyers to settle cases for less than their full value, and it can hinder their ability to advocate fearlessly for their clients. 

In a candid transcript, Michael shares his insights on how to overcome the fear of losing and, in doing so, unlock the true potential of your legal practice. 

Here's a summary of the key takeaways:

1. The Fear of Losing:

One of the primary reasons cases settle for less than they're worth is the fear of losing. Lawyers often settle for 70%, 80%, or even 90% of the full value because they're afraid of facing defeat. The opposition attempts to instill fear in legal practitioners to make them capitulate prematurely.

2. The Liberating Lesson:

To conquer this fear, some lawyers, including the speaker, had to learn the hard way. They had to experience the pain of losing a case they'd invested significant time and money in. However, what they discovered was liberating—losing a case didn't spell the end of their careers. Clients continued to seek their services, and their practice persevered.

3. Getting Over the Fear:

The turning point comes when lawyers realize that nothing catastrophic occurs if they lose a case. The fear starts to diminish, making way for a more fearless approach to litigation. This newfound fearlessness is transformative.

4. Trusting the Jurors and Judges:

Fear often stems from a lack of trust in jurors and judges. Lawyers may doubt that these individuals will do the right thing, be receptive to their message, or care about their clients. This lack of trust manifests in tone, facial expressions, and body language, negatively impacting communication.

5. Communicating Fearlessly:

By shedding the fear of loss, lawyers can communicate more effectively with jurors and judges. Believing that jurors are present to do the right thing and providing them with the tools they need fosters trust and receptivity. Lawyers become dynamic advocates, leading to better results.

6. The Power of Fearlessness:

When lawyers enter the courtroom without the fear of loss, they empower themselves and their clients. The opposition senses their confidence and becomes more inclined to offer settlements that reflect the case's true value or even more.

7. Embracing Trial Experience:

Trials aren't always about winning; sometimes, they're about learning and improving. Losing a case doesn't define a lawyer's career. Embracing trial experience, even when it doesn't result in a victory, contributes to growth and refinement as a legal professional.

In conclusion, conquering the fear of losing in the legal world is a transformative journey.

It enables lawyers to advocate fearlessly, communicate effectively, and ultimately secure the best possible outcomes for their clients. 

By embracing trial experiences, shedding fear, and trusting the process, legal professionals can elevate their practice and see their results soar to new heights.


Speaker 1:
One of the biggest reasons that cases settle for less than full value is because the lawyer handling the case is afraid to lose. And the fear gets to be so much that you go settle a case for a 70, 80, even 90% of the full value, but not every penny that you could get out of that case if you were brave enough to go forward and the other side did not sense fear in you. And that's what they try to do. They try to create fear in us so that we give up and we settle our cases for less than they're really worth. But when we go forward and we're fearless, when we say, "Look, you pay me at full value, or we're going to go try this case," and then you back it up and you actually go forward and you walk away from offers and you try the case, that's when they get fearful and they will start offering you full value and sometimes even more than what your case is really worth.
So how do we get over fear? Well, in my experience, I had to do it the hard way. I was afraid of losing cases, especially a case where I had a bunch of money into it. And the most liberating thing that ever happened to me happened way back in my career, was the first time that I lost a case where I had over a hundred thousand dollars of expenses. And that was the point in my life where a hundred thousand dollars was a lot of money. I had a $300,000 line of credit and it was run up to the max and we had payroll coming up twice a month. We had rent coming up every month. And I was so scared that if I lost this case where I had $100,000 invested in it, that it was all going to be over.
And guess what? The world didn't end. I didn't stop getting new cases. People didn't stop settling with me on my good cases. Nothing bad happened. It stunk that we lost the case, but the offer was so low it wouldn't have made a difference to the client anyway. We did the right thing by trying it. The other side learned that I had no fear and they were more afraid of me the next time. That same law firm, that same insurance company actually paid me a lot more money the next time we had a case and we pushed it and almost went to trial because they knew that I'd back it up, that I would go there and go to trial. If you try enough cases, you're going to win some you shouldn't win, and you're going to lose some you shouldn't lose. And it doesn't matter because the house doesn't have to win every hand in a casino, and a trial lawyer doesn't have to win every trial in a career.
And when you get over that fear of losing, when you realize nothing bad is going to happen if I lose, the fear starts to go away. What happens when the fear goes away and you go into the court and you're fearless? Well, you get rid of the things that get in the way. So one thing, when we're afraid, why are we afraid? One we reason we're afraid is we don't trust the jurors. We don't really believe that these people are going to do the right thing. We don't believe these people are going to be receptive to our message or they're going to care about our client. And when you talk to somebody and you don't trust them deep inside, it comes out. It comes out in your tone of voice and your facial expressions and the way you move. And if you don't trust them, guess what? They don't trust you. They're not as receptive to you. The same with a judge.
When you go in there with no fear of loss, you just get in the moment and you're just talking to those jurors. You're communicating. I tell myself every trial, "These jurors are here because they want to do the right thing. I can trust them. If I give them the tools they need, they'll do the right thing." And you go in there without that fear and you become more dynamic, they become more receptive and you start wanting more. And the other star it starts freaking out and start throwing money at you in these cases, because deep down, they have more to lose than we do. We will always make it up on the next one if it doesn't work out on this trial. So get over your fear of loss. Get in there, try some cases, and guess what?
Even if you lose one, you just get up, you dust the dirt off you, you go back into the next day and you start finding the next one and it's going to work and you're going to be better and better, and you're going to see your results skyrocket when you get past your fear of loss.

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