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  • Writer's pictureAli Assareh

If you make a mistake, apologize right away; it’s ALWAYS the best strategy

Best advice my brother gave me: If you make a mistake, apologize right away.

It’s ALWAYS the best strategy.


When I practiced law at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, I mistakenly called default on a major corporation’s credit facility, because they had missed a required filing.

The issue was elevated & a board meeting was called to discuss it.

Then, even though I’d gone through the pile of papers on my desk 100 times, I saw the missing filing right there - at the top of the pile. I’d just missed it.

I never forget my feeling in that moment: I had to cry, throw up, and go to the bathroom all at the same time.

I thought about excuses & cover ups. Then I remembered my brother’s advice.

I gathered myself & went to my main partner’s office. I said, my voice shaking, “Rob… I’ve made a HUGE mistake.”

Before I could even continue, Rob interrupted: “What, you found the piece of paper on your desk?”

Rob asked me to call our client right away & tell them the truth.

Everyone was so nice about it, I couldn’t believe it.

And even though Rob always picked on me for small mistakes, he NEVER - EVER - brought this up again.

If you make a mistake, apologize right away. It’s always the best strategy.

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