Werner Karl Heisenberg
It is not the end of the world. Nobody has died from making a legal mistake .... yet.
This will help to get it into perspective and you can start getting help to see if there really is a problem. There may be answers that you have not seen. If there is, then together you can work out what you might do about it.
A panel of experienced practitioners who are retained by the Law Society are available to assist you with Conduct Complaints.
The Law Society maintains a list of senior practitioners who are available for confidential discussions about ethical or practice matters.
Please give us feedback about your experiences using Foolkit and ideas for improvements.
Go back to basics, often. Take statements from your client and ensure that you have correctly understood these and what they want. Confirm your instructions in writing. Remember to check that office procedures are actually being followed - was the retainer signed? Did that revised cost estimate go out?
Slow down and think about your file. Take a step back. Write your letter of advice and then, if time permits, come back to it a day or two later. Speak to a colleague about the direction your difficult file is taking.
Respond to client concerns. Be sensitive to comments made by clients that might suggest that they are not happy. Talk to them about their concerns in an open and honest fashion.
Do you really know what you are doing? More often than not it is better to reject work that you don't usually do - better for you and better for your clients.When to Say No:10 Ways to Select and Reject a Client.
Use centralised diaries for time limits and other important information. Make sure that more than one person checks the document.
Do you have a "too hard" or "bottom of the pile" file or are worried that you might have done something wrong?
The best thing to do is to call one of your insurer's solicitors. They are all very experienced practitioners, and they have heard it all before and understand the stresses of legal practice and how these things can happen.
A confidential discussion may be all that it takes to get the matter moving or to find a practical solution to your impenetrable problem. avoid the dangers.
If there is a potential claim then it is best to get them involved from the earliest opportunity.
Any question of unprofessional conduct is an entirely separate issue. Though, if you bury a problem and it blows up, that will be viewed dimly by the Legal Profession Board.
Life is so much more pleasant and it so much easier to see the answers to problems when you are not totally stressed and are getting a good night's sleep. Consider also the information on Foolkit's Your Wellbeing Page.
For information about risk management in the modern law firm, consider this article from the Law Society of Scotland that covers issues such as lawyers working from home and the 'paperless office'.
San Francisco lawyer Tom Berman writes about defensive lawyering - putting in place preventative measures so law claims don't come knocking.
The American Legal Management Association has published an index of their Resources on Disaster Planning.
Lawyers@Risk blog - The risk management blog of The Victorian Legal Practitioners Liability Committee.
See also their list of publications.
Critical Issues facing the legal profession. Canadian practicePRO
See also Foolkit's Practice Management Page
Electronic data security - Canadian practicePRO
See also IT on Foolkit's Practice Management Page
Departing Employee Technology Checklist - Keeping the Fox Out of the Henhouse
All articles from Canadian Bar Association unless noted otherwise.