Nightmare on Overwhelm Street
By Audrey Priolo, Litigation Procedure Attorney
I have vivid bone-chilling memories of watching Nightmare on Elm Street as a teenager. The thought that Freddy Krueger could still haunt me in my dreams was nothing short of terrifying. While most adults are no longer scared of falling asleep because a knife handed maniac will invade their minds, litigators still experience the all too real fear of becoming overwhelmed and falling asleep on a case deadline.
Any litigator knows there are days where there are just not enough hours available to complete every pending task. If the need to calendar an out the ordinary deadline happens to fall within that time, then it is time to que the spooky music that captures the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Even the most skilled litigator cannot continue to overcome disorganization, lax calendaring, and deficient communication. Don’t despair! Deadlines do not need to be spine-chilling when firms implement the proper docketing procedures.
It seems as if only the large firms have discovered the hidden gem employees known as docketers. These are not your run of the mill employees. These saviors live, eat and breathe dates, deadlines, court rules and calendars. A docketing professional can make any firm run smoother, add consistency, and reduce risk. All are wonderful sleep aids to a busy litigator.
It is also essential to have the right calendaring system. If your firm still manually inputs deadlines into a handwritten and/or Outlook calendar, it is time for an upgrade. Even the best employee is bound to make an error if forced to manually calculate deadlines, especially when they are attempting to account for the differing deadlines found in State courts, Federal courts and also considering the local and individual courtroom rules. The risk of missing a deadline is much scarier than the cost and time to implement a proper docketing system. A big mistake will cost you a lot more in the long run. Save yourself from any further terror and start implementing your own docketing system now.
Audrey L. Priolo is a licensed California attorney with over 13 years of litigation and trial experience, who now works at American LegalNet as a Litigation Procedure Attorney. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org