Stay tuned for more than 70 tips to prevent missed limitations and deadlines

beat the clockEvery week four more lawyers miss a limitation period or deadline.

While not all reports result in actual claims, every lawyer who has missed a deadline knows how costly these mistakes can be. If you miss a deadline, expect to fork out your insurance deductible — $5,000 or $10,000 — depending on the extent of the damages. And instead of filling your workday with billable hours, you’ll be spending a significant amount of time working with the Lawyers Insurance Fund (LIF) to manage your claim. Even if the situation is successfully repaired, you could still be on the hook for the deductible to compensate your client for the legal fees paid to new counsel.

These largely preventable mistakes are amounting to a predictable one-quarter of all claims and potential claims to the Lawyers Insurance Fund. It’s a trend that LIF is committed to changing with the release of a new guide, Beat the Clock: Timely lessons from 1,600 lawyers , featuring more than 70 tips to prevent missed limitations and deadlines.

“Year after year we have seen the same number of claim reports rolling in from missed limitations and deadlines,” said Su Forbes, QC, Director of the Lawyers Insurance Fund. “ Thanks to a new system introduced in 2000 we can see precisely why lawyers are missing deadlines, and we now know that it's happening for a variety of reasons.”

The database, designed to capture and categorize insurance claims, allowed LIF to identify the four main causes of missed deadlines: oversights; legal issue failures; engagement management failures; and communication failures. Each of these causes is examined in depth in Beat the Clock .

The special publication, to be delivered with the next issue of Benchers’ Bulletin , will feature:

a detailed analysis of what causes missed limitations and deadlines;

examples of “what went wrong” from actual claim reports to LIF;

more than 70 tips from the practising lawyers at LIF to help you prevent missed deadlines;

comments and advice from lawyers who have reported missed deadlines; and

a handy reference chart that lists the most common limitations and deadlines.

“Part of our role at LIF is helping lawyers develop best practices,” said Su. “This is the first guide of its kind in Canada and we are very excited to be able to provide it to BC lawyers.”

The guide will also be posted to the Insurance section of the Law Society website.