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Lawyers have egos. We try to remain humble, open to learning new things and trying to improve. But, let’s face it: we hate being wrong, we hate making mistakes and we hate when those mistakes are pointed out by our supervisors, adversaries or (worst case scenario) judges. The reality is, however, that mistakes will happen and we have a choice: react to the constructive criticism or feedback with defensiveness, excuses and anger OR react with gratitude and humility and view it as an opportunity to improve. Which one of those reactions do you think is the most beneficial to your career advancement?

Try not to take constructive criticism personally. It is not a reflection on your self-worth; it is not an attack on your character; and it certainly does not mean you are a bad lawyer. It just means that you have more to learn and you have people around you who will help you do that. Will people sometimes point out your mistakes to be jerks and try to make you feel like an idiot? Sure! But you get to choose how to react to it. You get to choose to improve as a result of the mistake regardless of its method of being brought to your attention.

Try to be open to both positive and negative feedback and recognize that it is a positive part of your growth as a lawyer. You may be surprised at how your ability to take constructive criticism with a positive attitude will lead to long term benefits in your career.