There are many errors that can lead to malpractice, but the most common are time-management related errors and missed deadlines. Some of the most important are:
1. A failure to calendar when the limitation period was known, and the statute deadline was missed.
2. A failure to realize when the statute of limitations ran. This failure might involve a lack of effort to discover the deadline date.
3. A failure in reacting to a calendar error.
4. A failure to timely communicate with clients or move the case forward. This happens when there is a delay in dealing with a client’s matter that causes an important loss.
You can prevent all these time management and deadline failures using today’s technology.
– Use a central, formal tickler system: it is much better to use a formal tickler system that is centrally administered because all the data is accessible by everyone, with reminders about deadlines being seen by both attorney and staff .
– Set the target completion dates a couple of days before the actual deadline: a smart move, because you will minimize the chances of missing a deadline. Quite frequently, unexpected problems appear in the same day with the deadline, making it difficult to meet the deadline.
– Break a task into smaller parts: this gives you the peace of mind that you have enough time to finish everything in time. You can do this by setting several ticklers for each different milestone involved in the process of completing a task.
– Set additional alarms on other reminders: it is easy to forget about an important task and to lose track of time, especially when things get busy. Use the calendar reminder on your computer as well as the calendar or memo features or your mobile device, so you get the reminder no matter where you are.
– Make use of a “Do Not Disturb” protocol: you can do this anytime you need an undisturbed block of time. Simply close your office door, put your phone on call-forward, and put a visible “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Make sure others in your office know about and respect the protocol.
– Use practice management software: programs such as Amicus Attorney, Time Matters, Advologix, and Clio are designed especially for practice management. Many have free trials, so you can see which fits your practice best before making the commitment.
by Kimberly Hanlon
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