Thoughts on Law and Life

The Official Blog of Astrab Legal Services LLC

Competence, Consistency & Character (Part III)

Today marks the final blog in my series on the ‘3 C’s’ of Competence, Consistency and Character. Today I’ll focus on Character, which I believe is by far the most important of the three, as without character your competence and consistency probably won’t be worth a darn to anyone.

In a quick blog post yesterday I commented on criminal defense attorneys who make outlandish pronouncements of innocence on behalf of their clients in order to get some face time on TV. The vast majority of attorneys know that these statements are BS, and I’m guessing that most of the general public sees them that way as well. What these statements do, however, is reflect on the character of the attorney at issue, in my opinion. If it is clear that the attorney is acting out for the cameras, I believe that this reflects a serious flaw in his or her character…our duty is to zealously represent and defend our clients and to do so in the Courtroom, not in the media. If I see a criminal defense attorney who is constantly making these comments, my opinion of his character will be severely diminished, as he is, in my opinion, hurting his client in the process.

Character is something that is built and maintained on a daily basis. It is the core of our being and the model by which we live our lives and by which we are viewed by others. If we maintain a strong moral code of integrity, honest and humility, among other traits, we will gain the respect of those around us, including colleagues and potential clients. We cannot deviate from our character on a case-by-case basis…it is how we should handle all of our dealings every day, no exceptions.

What is character? A few simple examples are keeping our word consistently, returning phone calls on a daily basis, treating colleagues with professional courtesy, refraining from gossip and being willing to lend a helping hand when requested. There are many facets to character, and we must find out for ourselves what our own personal traits may be. My point with this blog is to remind folks that others are watching our words and our actions and we should maintain top-of-mind awareness of this fact. The old saying goes that satisfied individuals will tell one or two people about the service that they received, while those treated poorly by a business will tell ten or twenty. The same goes for character – those put off by our words and actions will take every opportunity to tell their opinion to others if our name comes up in conversation.

Being perceived as having poor character will hurt us personally and in the business world as well. It could mean the difference in getting that job or signing up that client. It could affect the way that promotions are handed out or how we are treated by authority figures.

Take some time today to perform some introspection. How do you believe your character is perceived by others? If you are feeling adventurous, ask a close friend what people think of you. Regardless of your methods, you need to make sure that your moral compass is pointed in the right direction if you wish to have success in life and business.

Michael K. Astrab is the principal attorney for Astrab Legal Services LLC, a general practice law firm located in Cleveland, Ohio. He may be reached at (216) 577-0013 or via e-mail at This blog is designed for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


January 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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