Avoiding Missed Deadlines

In his blog post today, Judge Primeaux drew attention to the importance of proper calendar/tickler management, doing an excellent job of describing the system most of used when I started practicing 35 years ago. The point cannot be emphasized enough. If his post was lacking in any respect, it was that it did not make clear the way in which paralegals and attorneys can work as a team to minimize the the problem of missed deadline.

I followed up on his post with this comment:

This is an excellent and important point, one that I emphasize in all my paralegal classes and focus on in my first “The Empowered Paralegal” book [The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional.] There are many intermediate methods for calendar management, including use of the Calendar function in Outlook and most other email program. A few points merit emphasis:

 1. Proper calendar management is a two person function. The paralegal and attorney should coordinate calendars and ticklers frequently, cross-checking each other. The problems avoided by having two persons ensuring timeliness far outweigh the little time it takes each person.;

 2. More than one calendar is helpful if you are using a paper system – the attorney’s calendar with all the entries important to her, the paralegal’s calendar for her deadlines, and a joint calendar for all major dates;

3. The calendar should contain not only deadlines, but intermediate steps – Answers to Interrogatories are due in 30 days, but the calendar should have dates for getting them to the client, getting necessary information from the client, a first draft date, etc.

 4. This type of organization should extend beyond the tickler/calendar to the attorney’s (and paralegal’s) workspace management, file management, client management, and -most importantly- time management.

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