DON’T LET DEADLINES GET YOU DOWN
Time flies. No matter how prepared a person might feel, the same question always comes back to you: What’s next?
What’s coming up on my calendar tomorrow? Next week?
What deadlines are approaching in this case? What about that case?
Briefing and scheduling order deadlines keep arriving the the regularity of an Outlook calendar reminder. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve created more than your fair share of those.
The American Bar Association’s Top Ten Malpractice Tips and How to Avoid Them notes that “calendaring errors remain a leading cause of malpractice claims.”
In order to avoid this issue, the ABA recommends that each office have, at its organizational core, an office-wide calendar and practices in place regarding its use. The system should contain the following characteristics:
- Be easy to use, easy to maintain, and easy to teach to new personnel;
- Include some redundancy, either through multiple paper calendars or the computer;
- Contain an off-site calendar backup in the event of a system failure or emergency;
- Maintain the ability to crosscheck between the master calendar and the backup calendar to catch calendaring errors;
- Have at least one docket date for every open file to make sure all files are regularly reviewed;
- Include tracking methods that enable the law office to identify who created a given entry; and
- Maintain accountability among all attorney and non-attorney staff.
Law office management systems like Practice Panther can be one point of entry. Connecting your calendar, your task manager, and your case files is a good start toward helping to avoid missed deadlines. Ultimately, you need to create a firm-wide culture of keeping and cross-checking deadlines among different sources–rule books, calendaring tools, case deadline software, and your own accountability.
Have a question, comment, or a suggestion for this site? We’d love to hear from you.
Let’s work together to turn deadlines into lifelines.