The cover-up is worse than the crime

One reason people pay litigators is because litigators are experts at spinning facts and hiding the ball.   In every case in every courthouse, both sides have unfavorable and favorable facts, and the attorney who is more skilled at maximizing the favorable facts and minimizing the unfavorable one tends to, at first blush, have an advantage.  

Very aggressive litigators almost always try to omit their client’s unfavorable facts.  They take a certain pride in the ability to spin a story in the most favorable light to their client, and this often involves completely omitting or dramatically minimizing the unfavorable facts.  You may be thinking, “Of course, this is the game of litigation – what kind of idiot would include unfavorable facts voluntarily?”  

But if you speak with extremely successful litigators, some will tell you that the best litigators are those who voluntarily disclose the unfavorable facts.  Up front.  Before the other side highlights them.  No hiding the ball.  No hoping and praying that the other side “will not think to bring it up.”  They disclose the unfavorable facts and then do their best to explain away their importance.  This establishes an incredible level of trust and credibility with the judge or jury, which can often bestow huge advantages later on in the case.

I don’t want to get into an analysis of litigation strategies, but this is very relevant to job searching, especially in this economy.  

Right now, I am seeing a tendency for many laid off attorneys–especially litigators–to try to spin the facts regarding their layoff, as they naturally see this as nothing more than “good advocacy.”  They may be tempted to omit unfavorable details regarding their impending departure. 

Some attorneys are so used to omitting unfavorable facts when advocating for their clients that they use these same strategies when job searching.    


You may think that it makes better strategic sense to omit unfavorable facts completely (for example, the fact that you were asked to leave), but this is unwise.  Determining how to best tell your story is not a one-size-fits-all type of analysis, but please remember one thing – the cover-up is worse than the crime.  If you lie or omit something that an employer would find relevant to their hiring decision, the cover-up itself (assuming it’s found out, which it usually always is) will damage your candidacy more than the crime itself.   This is not litigation.  This is a job search.  You are evaluated on your integrity and skills, not on your ability to spin a strong story by omitting the negative facts.

Your credibility is everything.  It is is damaged, your chance at getting the job will vanish.

Related posts:

  1. My Advice to Recruiters About Resumes and Cover Letters
  2. Leaving Employers off your resume
  3. Did we skip the litigators?

Here is the original: Lateral Attorney Report