There are lots of advantages to having colleagues in the UK. But there’s one thing that is terribly frustrating: none of them knows anything about baseball. Not surprising, really; the contributions of the British to our National Pastime have been few and far between. Sure, I’ll admit that Yorkshire native Simeon Bullas was an integral part of the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings, but I think we can all agree that he was an exceptional sportsman.
On the rare occasion when an Englishman tries to take on baseball, the results can be pretty embarrassing. While I am sure that the announcer in the clip below is perfectly competent to call a football (i.e., soccer) or cricket match(?), would you really trust him to give serious commentary on a baseball game? Ridiculous. (That said, I would have loved to have heard the late Phil Rizzuto call a game of rounders — “Holy Cow! Look at the traffic on Tower Bridge!”)
Equally ridiculous is the lawyer who tries his or her hand at an unfamiliar practice area. Like the real estate practitioner who thinks s/he can advise a client on document preservation obligations. Or the finance guru who sends a letter threatening litigation. Or the litigator who offers suggestions to a client on tax strategies. And for lawyers (unlike our jovial broadcaster), embarrassment is the best-case scenario; if and when that advice proves incorrect or deficient, that client (rather, ex-client) will be looking to get a lot more than laughs from the lawyers.
If a client needs assistance in an area with which you are unfamiliar, don’t try it yourself; introduce him or her to one of your colleagues who is knowledgeable in that area. The client gets good advice, you’ve impressed the client with the breadth of your firm’s expertise, and you avoid looking silly (or worse). Sounds like a home run to me. Or, as they say in Great Britain….