• Feeling that their offices or cases are out of control.
• Changing familiar procedures.
• Looking foolish by asking certain questions.
• Candidly expressing their thoughts and feelings.
• Giving clients “bad news.”
• Being intimidated by superiors in their firm.
• Asking for favors from their counterparts in a case or being asked for favors by their counterparts.
• Seeming “too nice.”
• Being blamed.
• Speaking in public.
• Lacking skill and confidence due to limited trial experience.
• Clients giving false testimony.
• Failing to locate “the smoking gun.”
• Harming their clients’ interests.
• Being attacked or outsmarted by counterparts.
• Being judged unfairly by potential or actual jurors.
• Being intimidated by judges.
• Suffering reprisals from judicial disqualification motions or reporting judicial misconduct.
• Suffering “the pain, humiliation and shame of defeat.”
It’s not just litigation that can induce fear; negotiation does too. According to John Lande’s research, these are some of lawyers’ top fears about negotiation:
• Insecurity about their negotiation skills or preparation.
• Asking questions.
• Being questioned aggressively by their counterparts.
• Looking foolish.
• Appearing weak.
• Being dominated or exploited by their counterparts.
• Disclosing information that may harm their clients’ position.
• Making tactical errors.
• Incorrectly valuing cases.
• Failing to anticipate possible problems.
• Failing to reach an agreement.
• Not getting a good enough result for clients.
ABA Journal: “How lawyers can turn fear into an ally”