Many law firms, both big and small, have a difficult time managing their court calendars and other calendar-related deadlines. With excessive caseloads and juggling so many different clients, it should come as no surprise that it’s difficult to avoid costly mistakes if you’re managing your calendar on your own.
Fortunately, in this day and age, technology is available to make this job easier and more efficient. With calendars built to calculate legal-specific court dates, these rule-based calendaring technologies allow you to reduce the risk of missing deadlines, causing a malpractice lawsuit and loss of client and revenue.
Calendar errors are some of the leading causes of malpractice lawsuits against lawyers today. Over thirty-four percent of malpractice claims are because of a missed deadline, improper calendaring errors, failure to react to the court calendar, or some other calendar-related mistake.
Small firms struggle the most, and practices with fewer than six attorneys make up seventy percent of these claims. It’s challenging to balance everything, and scheduling is one of the hardest things to coordinate.
In the case of Florentino v. City of Fresno, the plaintiff’s attorney forgot that October has thirty-one days instead of thirty, and missed the ninety-day deadline to request a hearing by one day. In another case, a filing clerk missed a deadline, deemed “excusable neglect.” However, in the dissent, it was rebuked, because had a lawyer completed the task, it would have been inexcusable.
Malpractice like these two cases happens all the time, resulting in loss of exclusivity, loss of clients, additional lawsuits, and extra paperwork. Missed deadlines, failure to calculate deadlines correctly, and failing to request an extension are just some of the human error involved in complicated calendaring.
Court calendaring, especially in California, is a tricky proposition. Dates are calculated based on many different rules. Forget the rules or miscalculate a date and the results could be catastrophic for your firm and your client.
The industry’s calendaring challenge is difficult to overcome, but firms can proactively take steps to avoid risk and maximize calendaring compliance. Using calendaring software to automate the calendaring process takes human error out of the equation.
While many large firms of twenty attorneys or more have already moved to a rule-based calendaring software, small firms and solo attorneys would look a lot different if they took advantage of the benefits. Instead of relying on manual techniques, they can prevent disaster and take the steps they need to reduce error.
These types of calendaring solutions trigger the calculation of due dates and deadlines based on an event, like entering a judgment or the date of a trial. Because they can be programmed to understand rules in different jurisdictions, it reduces research time to almost nothing and requires you to have to remember and coordinate less.
You can also update these systems when rules and codes change, triggering email alerts with relevant changes as well as reminders. They account for holidays, specific judges’ rules that affect the calculation, and other specific criteria.
Take the human error out of calendar calculations and reduce your risk of error and malpractice by implementing a calendaring solution. Take advantage of the advances in technology and make your caseload and your docket more manageable.
For more information as well as access to legal forms, court forms, or California court forms, visit Forms Workflow.