May 22, 2018 Articles

Taking the Time to Ensure You Don’t Miss Deadlines: Standardized Policies and Procedures for Calendar Management and Ten Considerations to Get You Started

Technology, imprecision, and unclear division of responsibility can lead to disaster. Adopting standardized policies and procedures is the key to ensuring that you don’t miss important deadlines

by Jason A. Landro

Imagine it’s 8:00 a.m., and you’re about to leave your house for an all-day deposition. As you step outside, you grab your cell phone, check your email, and open your calendar for the week. Then . . . your heart drops: Today is the filing deadline for summary judgment motions in one of your cases that has been dormant the past four months. After yelling a few choice words at your cell phone, you ask yourself: How did this happen? Why didn’t I get a reminder? Or did I? How am I ever going to draft a motion in time?

Many attorneys have encountered scenarios like that one. Others have missed deadlines altogether. Every litigator knows that tracking and meeting court-imposed deadlines is vitally important, but such errors still occur far too often. In fact, failing to calendar a deadline and failing to know or ascertain the deadline correctly are two of the most common types of errors alleged in legal malpractice claims. See Am. Bar Ass’n Standing Comm. on Lawyers’ Prof’l Liability, Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims 2012–2015, at 18 (2016–2017).

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