A New Year is upon us, and before we know it many of us will be going back to work in offices full of litigators who will be fired up for the New Year. I have seen this for years, though, and the fire will dwindle out by this time next week. What usually happens is that there will be one big (two or three hour) case meeting where the partner promises he is going to be more available to his staff and resolves to have one short case meeting per week to ensure the team stays on track. Then, we don’t see that guy until February.
Litigators, listen up. Make some real resolutions this year and don’t say them out loud unless you mean them. I’m serious. If all you really want to do this year is only show up hung-over on Friday morning instead of every other morning, then stick to that. More sobriety is a good place to start.
Personally, the resolutions that I would have liked to hear my partners make would be:
- I will write down my logins and passwords and stop asking my paralegal what they are;
- I will start referring to exhibits by their proper name, and especially when I am asking my paralegal to attach them to court filings (For instance, “June 2, 2008 email from A. Big Shot Attorney to CEO of Big Bad Securities Fraud Company,” instead of “You know, attach that email that is good for us.”);
- I will not make my paralegal stay late without notice unless it is absolutely necessary;
- I will think about what I want to do and who I need to speak with. I will only make my paralegal schedule depositions, meetings, and phone calls one time unless unforeseen circumstances occur (We could just call this a commandment, actually. Call this one THOU SHALT NOT BE WISHY-WASHY. Or even STICK TO THE SCHEDULE);
- I resolve to quit telling my support staff that every single task I give them is ASAP, only to let the project results sit on my desk for weeks until I look at it.
Five is a manageable start. Obviously, I could go on and on, but I know you litigators have very short attention spans. Get it together, lawyers. We don’t want to play any more lawyer games in 2014.