Lawyers and Deadlines. By Braxton Mounteer

You have just received an email from your lawyer about a deadline that your lawyer needs your help to meet. What should you do? You are already extremely busy with your life and its responsibilities. You don’t need or have time for “homework” on top of everything else. You are paying your lawyer a substantial amount of money, why isn’t he or she handling all of this for you? The answer is simple: your lawyer cannot do what only you can do. 

Litigation is deadline driven. The rules of court set deadlines for when certain  exhibits, arguments, requests, claims, and responses must be served on the opposing party and/or filed with the court. Miss the deadline and you risk having those exhibits, arguments, requests, claims, and responses rejected. You could have critical evidence that could help win the day but if you miss the submission deadline, it won’t matter.

You could be subject to certain penalties under the law including contempt of court, awarding of all undisclosed assets to the other party, and being required to provide support beyond your means.

Ignoring deadlines won’t make them go away. Nor will it extend them. Procrastinate until the 11th hour, and you’re all but assured that your and your attorney’s work product will be rushed, incomplete, inferior, and weak.

Sometimes you can request an extension of time, but extensions are not guaranteed. Did you miss this deadline because of forces out of your control or did you just forget? You had better be ready to prove you have a good reason for an extension.

Meeting deadlines is of crucial importance. Your case’s success depends on it.

Deadlines are not “suggestions” and the work due by the deadlines is not busywork you can ignore without risking serious damage to your case or outright doing your case serious damage.

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