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Honesty: Truth-telling in an Age of Doublespeak 

Richard B. Johnson

Co-Founder + Partner
March 1, 2022

Welcome to the fourth installment about the core values that form the foundation of Ascent Employment Law!

As we explained in our first three pieces (Ascent’s Promise, Courage and Professionalism), Ascent is unwaveringly dedicated to a set of six core values that form our Promise to those we serve.

Today, I will be focusing on Honesty.

Honesty is not merely telling the truth as opposed to lying. Honesty involves far more than that!

As the Yiddish proverb cautions: “A half-truth is a whole lie”.

As lawyers, we have an obligation to tell the truth – including to the Court, to other lawyers and to our clients. This duty encompasses an obligation not to lie, but also not to shade the truth to leave false impressions or mislead others.

The silver-tongued lawyer on TV who uses emotional arguments and technical half-truths to win the case at trial is not reality. In fact, it is the punchline of a bad lawyer joke!

Being honest when we advise and guide our clients requires that we deal with all of the facts of a case; the good and the bad including any less-than-ideal twists that make the case less straightforward than we might like. Honesty then also requires that we explain the available options and main ways that a case could end so that our client has a full and clear picture to use when making decisions about their own case. Clients cannot do that unless we give them the “straight goods” in a clear and honest way.

Transparency and facing up to all of the relevant parts of a case is not only part of honesty but it is strategically important. Only by acknowledging, calling out and owing any “bad” or unsavoury facts in a case (i.e. being honest) can we begin to earn credibility with our clients, the Court and other lawyers.

Being open and honest about the case at hand also helps us to identify the best options and strategies available to meet our clients’ needs. Whether these options include trial, an advantageous settlement or another process that might allow for cultural or religious values, we can help best when we are truly honest. That is the Ascent way and it works!

Join us next time to hear how Humanity and Care influence every aspect of our practice.

Contact us so we can be of service!