How Do You Balance Thoroughness With Tight Deadlines?

How Do You Balance Thoroughness With Tight Deadlines?

In the fast-paced world of law, balancing meticulous attention to detail with looming deadlines is a skill unto itself. We've gathered insights from attorneys, general counsels, and other relevant professionals who navigate this challenge daily. From prioritizing witnesses with direct knowledge to strategizing due diligence in M&A cases, discover how five legal experts manage their casework under pressure.

  • Prioritize Witnesses With Direct Knowledge
  • Focus on Key Transactions for Summary Judgment
  • Leverage Technology for Efficient Document Review
  • Manage Time and Delegate for Legal Defense
  • Strategize Due Diligence in M&A Cases

Prioritize Witnesses With Direct Knowledge

In workers' compensation litigation, balancing thoroughness with tight deadlines is very important. One scenario that illustrates this is deciding which witnesses to depose. Instead of deposing every listed witness, I focus on those who may have material information.

For instance, in a recent case involving a disputed workplace injury, I deposed four fact witnesses that my client indicated were present on the date of the injury. One of them admitted to having witnessed the injury during the deposition. In another recent case, my client indicated that the insurer's listed witness was not present for anything material to the dispute. I did not depose that listed witness, and she ultimately did not appear to testify at the hearing.

By prioritizing witnesses with direct and relevant knowledge, I ensure that depositions are impactful and efficient. This method not only saves time but also streamlines the case preparation, which enables meeting tight deadlines without compromising the quality of the work.

Luke Smith
Luke SmithAttorney and Founder, LawSmith PLLC

Focus on Key Transactions for Summary Judgment

I remember working on an estate litigation case where we were moving for summary judgment. The affidavit for our client was relatively long and included the accounting of the defendants, which consisted of a thirty-page accounting report and approximately five years of bank statements for two bank accounts. There were also copies of a handful of receipts and checks.

The number of discrepancies between the accounting and the bank statements was astonishing. I could have spent weeks going through each transaction and categorizing them, thoroughly presenting the questionable transactions, but we were running out of time. I had to take a step back and think, “What do I need to prove to get the order we are seeking?” I needed to decide to what extent the accounting needed to be reviewed, categorized, and presented.

It was determined that it wasn't truly necessary to go through each statement or transaction. It was sufficient to highlight a few of the transactions that were not in line with the defendants' accounting. I was able to get the documents prepared and filed on time, but had I believed it was necessary to review, categorize, and present each transaction, I would have had to pull an all-nighter to ensure it was completed.

When deciding how thorough we need to be, many factors are taken into consideration, and every case is different, requiring a different level of thoroughness. For me, my first task is to determine what the legal test is that I am required to prove, what is the most likely position that the other side will present, and what is the client's budget. From there, I can determine the level of thoroughness required to achieve the goal the client is hoping to achieve.

Madelaine McKenzieParalegal, Campbells LLP

Leverage Technology for Efficient Document Review

As the founder of a legal process outsourcing company, balancing the need for thoroughness with tight deadlines is a delicate yet essential aspect of our casework. One scenario that exemplifies this challenge occurred when we were tasked with conducting a comprehensive document review for a high-profile litigation case with an unexpectedly tight deadline.

Despite the pressure to deliver results quickly, we understood the importance of maintaining accuracy and attention to detail.

To navigate this dilemma, we implemented a strategic approach that involved leveraging advanced technology for efficient document processing while simultaneously allocating additional resources and implementing rigorous quality control measures to ensure thoroughness.

By adopting this balanced strategy, we were able to meet the demanding deadline without compromising on the quality of our work, ultimately securing successful outcomes for our clients.

Aseem Jha
Aseem JhaFounder, Legal Consulting Pro

Manage Time and Delegate for Legal Defense

As a business lawyer, I balance the need for thoroughness with tight deadlines on a daily basis. One scenario that comes to mind is when my client was facing a potential lawsuit from a former employee.

The client had only given me a few days to review all the necessary documents and draft a response before the deadline set by the court. As I began reviewing the documents, it became clear that there were multiple issues at play, including contract disputes and potential violations of employment laws.

On one hand, I knew that it was crucial to thoroughly analyze each document and gather all relevant information in order to provide the best defense for my client. However, with such limited time, I also had to prioritize and focus on the most pressing issues first.

To strike a balance between thoroughness and meeting the tight deadline, I utilized my time-management and organizational skills. I created a detailed timeline for each task and delegated some of the research work to my team members. This allowed me to focus on the more complex legal analysis and drafting the response.

At the same time, I communicated openly with my client about the situation and kept them updated on our progress. By setting realistic expectations and managing their concerns, I was able to alleviate some of the pressure surrounding the tight deadline.

Amira Irfan
Amira IrfanFounder and CEO, A Self Guru

Strategize Due Diligence in M&A Cases

Working in the legal profession, the challenge of balancing the need for thoroughness with the pressure of tight deadlines is often front and center. One specific scenario is when I was working on a merger and acquisition case. The client, quite understandably, wanted a swift resolution, but the process involved detailed due diligence to mitigate future legal jeopardy. To address this, I employed a two-pronged approach.

Firstly, I worked closely with the client to establish priorities and phased deadlines. This ensured high-value tasks were tackled without delay. Secondly, I made effective use of my team, implementing tools and protocols to streamline the due diligence process. By ensuring a robust review was started early, the tedious work could be completed efficiently and accurately in a shorter time frame. Naturally, there was an element of overtime needed, but the strategic planning helped keep it to a minimum.

Ultimately, providing thorough, competent legal research and advice, even under pressure, is about maximizing efficiency and leveraging resources effectively without compromising on quality.

Jonathan Feniak
Jonathan FeniakGeneral Counsel, LLC Attorney

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