New Lawyer Mistakes – Missing Deadlines

Missing deadlines among the top mistakes made new lawyers make.  We saw in part one of this series that the most common mistake made by new lawyers entering the profession was practicing poor timekeeping skills.  We also discussed how adopting a few simple habits will ensure you sidestep this issue.

Today we turn our attention to another issue that can also be avoided with the right mix of organization and awareness.

I’m referring to the dreaded mistake of a missed deadline.

Be Proactive and Avoid the Pain

Perhaps the reason some new lawyers fail to give deadlines their proper respect, is due to the fact that they haven’t yet experienced the firsthand sting of missing one.  Or, perhaps there was leniency towards deadlines present in their academic setting.

Whatever the case, please, please, don’t make this common mistake, and respect all your professional deadlines.  A cavalier attitude towards time is a habit that must be rooted out.

It can be costly if you don’t.

The consequences of missing a deadline can range from damaging your reputation and looking incompetent, to the more severe, like having a suit barred for a client, or getting fired.

There will be few, if any, acceptable excuses for this, so do whatever you need to do to meet your deadline.  Pay attention to the approaching dates and keep your supervising attorney in the loop should any extraneous situations arise.

Advice From An Old Pro

Another consideration that I advise you to keep in mind, is that you don’t want to just come in under the wire with your drafts.  What I mean is, you have to leave time before the actual deadline for the revisions, additions and editing that is most likely going to be required.

Submitting them on the day of is not acceptable.  This will likely put your colleagues under extra pressure, which is not going to strengthen your relationships.

I recommend investing in calendar software to help you stay organized.  There are plenty specifically designed for our profession to choose from.  Have a read of this up to date review to get yourself acquainted.

Final Thoughts

Awareness of the severity of this common mistake(missing deadlines) is the first step in avoiding it. The second step is of course to keep yourself organized and efficient, and if you need to invest in an application to help keep you on track, please do so.

It’s a simple relationship really.  The better organized you are, the less stress you will be under, and the less negative consequences you will have to suffer for.  This will be especially true if you decide or are planning on running your own practice.

Stay tuned for more solutions to keep you on track and moving in the right direction in your careers!

Until next time!

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