Avoid Malpractice Claims through Time Management
Missed deadlines and time management-related errors are the second biggest cause of malpractice claims at all sizes of firms. Over the last decade, they have represented over 17 percent of all malpractice claims.
The most common time-related error is a failure to know or ascertain a deadline – missing a limitation period because you didn’t know it. The good news is that this specific error has declined by almost 50 percent over the last ten years. The bad news is that the other time and deadline-related errors are holding stable or increasing slightly.
While in the longer term we expect that the new Limitations Act will result in fewer limitations period claims, at this stage it does not appear to have had any impact. Indeed, over the last year it may have resulted in more claims due to confusion over transition provisions.
A failure to calendar is the second most common time-related error (a limitation period was known, but it was not properly entered in a calendar or tickler system). The fourth most common time-related error is the failure to react to calendar error. In this case the limitation period was known and entered into a tickler system, but was missed due to a failure to use or respond to the tickler reminder.
Lawyers at firms of all sizes seem to have a dusty file or two that sits on the corner of their desks for far too long, and this makes procrastination-related errors the third most common time related error. By count and costs, procrastination-related errors are on an upwards trend.
These deadline and time management errors are easily preventable with better time management skills and the proper use of tickler systems. Practice management software programs such as Amicus Attorney and Time Matters are excellent tools for helping lawyers manage deadlines and tasks, and for helping them better manage client communications and relationships.