Deadlines are critical – so never miss one

September 20, 2016

State of the legal marketIn the practice of law, deadlines mean everything.  When is the latest this lawsuit can be filed?  How long do I have to file my client’s response?  How long do I have to appeal?

And there’s a reason deadlines are everything: if one is missed, a client’s interests can be severely injured: a case can be dismissed; an argument rejected as untimely; or a lawsuit barred by the statute of limitations.

But isn’t keeping track of deadlines simple enough?  That’s what calendars are for, right?  If that were true, then missing critical deadlines would not be one of the leading causes of legal malpractice – as it currently is.

What is it that makes tracking deadlines such a thorny issue for attorneys?  There isn’t any easy answer to this question, unfortunately.  This is largely because following deadlines is rarely a simple matter in the practice of law.

The solution, then, is a calendaring system that is designed specifically for legal professionals: Thomson Reuters Deadline Assistant.

Deadline Assistant offers a robust, customizable calendaring system – but one that is tailored especially for use in the practice of law.  It addresses the most common difficulties faced by attorneys in scheduling matters.

For instance, court rules are predominantly responsible for setting various deadlines.  Unfortunately, deadlines often vary between jurisdictions – not to mention within the same jurisdiction depending on the particular type of deadline.

To account for this, Deadline Assistant calculates and tracks critical deadlines based on the federal, state, and local court rules applicable to your case.  And Deadline Assistant links directly to these court rules on Westlaw just in case you want to doublecheck the deadline for yourself.

But what do you do when changes occur to applicable court rules?

Deadline Assistant automatically notifies users of these changes via email.  And attorney-editors provide detailed reports of changes so you stay informed.

Another common problem faced by attorneys is having to manage deadlines across multiple – sometimes even a vast number – of cases.  The trouble presented by such a scenario isn’t simply having  to balance and keep track of numerous and competing deadlines on a crowded calendar; it’s having to become familiar with the potentially diverse deadlines across different jurisdictions and case types, as well as monitoring and updating the deadlines in those cases when the need arises.

Deadline Assistant makes such case management easy, allowing you to easily retrieve deadline rules for a large number of cases, and easily track them within your calendar.

Another frequent cause of missed deadlines is when an attorney assigned to a case is out of the office, and another attorney is assigned to it in his or her absence.  Oftentimes, something is lost or overlooked in the transition, and a deadline is neglected.

Deadline Assistant addresses this problem by allowing multiple users to access and manage a case and its deadlines.  In other words, when a case is reassigned to another attorney, the deadlines follow along.

The importance of deadlines in the practice of law is difficult to overstate.  In fact, many insurance companies will not extend professional liability insurance to a lawyer or law firm unless they explicitly use a deadline management tool.

In spite of this importance, deadlines don’t have to be difficult.  An offering like Deadline Assistant can make them a simple matter while simultaneously minimizing the chance of a deadline being overlooked.