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Solving Behavior Problems

The other day, this bit of automotive advertising caught my eye. I don't know what sort of behavior problems the driver claims to be able to solve, but I can think of several for which I would love a solution.

A common lawyer "behavior problem" is being dilatory. It's easy to fall into the habit of putting things off. Procrastination is endemic in the profession. It is a common and well founded complaint about attorneys.

Those who read my posts will know that this is not the first time I have raised this issue. It bears some repetition. It's a big deal and a big problem.

Here is a good example with which I have been dealing for some time: Almost five years ago, a number of lawyers left our firm. Some cases went with them. We had a lien for fees and costs on several. Almost half a decade later a number of those cases are still not resolved. Of course, I would like to get paid - and not getting paid is super annoying - but the bigger issue is that such delays are heinously unfair to the clients.

Everything we do should be in the best interests of our clients. Delay hurts clients. The famous (or, depending on your perspective, infamous) Eastern District of Virginia has the motto Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied. It is inscribed over the main entrance of one of the courthouses. It's true. The so-called "rocket docket" has it right.

I would like to say that I never defer stuff. I can't. We all have cases which we would rather avoid. We have clients who can be a pain. We get busy and distracted. There are always competing priorities for our time and energy.

Resisting our dilatory inclinations requires positive effort. Clients, even difficult ones with tough cases, deserve to have their matters handled efficiently and expeditiously.

The legal system is slow enough under the best of circumstances. That makes lawyer induced delays all the more inexcusable.


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