Beat the clock: Guide already helping lawyers to prevent missed deadlines

Summer 2008

Lawyers are already implementing the risk management tips outlined in Beat the clock: Timely Lessons from 1600 Lawyers, according to early results from a membership survey. Close to 60 per cent of lawyers who responded to the survey indicated they have made changes to how they practise or to their firm’s processes since reading the guide. In total, nearly 90 per cent of lawyers surveyed have either already made changes to their practice or plan to in the future.

Survey respondents ranked the guide an average of 4.5 on scale of one to five, with five at the high end. Comments included:

  • Fantastic, relevant and worthwhile publication.
  • The guide is excellent and practical. It has enhanced my understanding of various issues and pitfalls.
  • I have incorporated every suggestion made in this excellent booklet into my practice.
  • I thought the publication was excellent, both in terms of the information contained and in the way in which it was laid out. It was user friendly. Now we just have to get everyone to read it!

Survey results show that the guide is being used by lawyers across different practice areas, including sole practitioners, small firm and large firm lawyers, as well as their articled students and legal assistants. “We are now looking at using the guide as one element of our orientation and continuing education program for incoming associates,” said one lawyer. “My assistant now has the guide taped to her desk,” another lawyer noted.

The changes already implemented or planned by survey respondents incorporate a variety of the risk management tips outlined in the guide for avoiding the four underlying causes of missed limitations and deadlines: oversights, mismanagement of the specific legal issues, failures in engagement management and ineffective communication. Early results show the guide is working. For example, one lawyer noted: “Today my practice was affected (in a good way) by something I read in the publication. I recalled the importance of a notice to the municipality where the police caused an injury.”

Beat the clock was delivered to all lawyers in private practice with the May Benchers’ Bulletin. The guide, along with the “Limitations and Deadlines Quick Reference List,” can also be downloaded from the Lawyers Insurance Fund section of the Law Society website (go to Managing Risk).

Do you have feedback on the guide? Take the short, online survey at [editor's note: the survey has closed] and the Lawyers Insurance Fund will send you a small token of appreciation (while supplies last).