An American Bar Association publication entitled, Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims, revealed that more than 34 percent of all malpractice claims are due to calendar-related errors and that about 70 percent of all malpractice claims are against law firms with five or fewer attorneys.
Although attorneys are, at their core, risk takers and are therefore astutely aware of the importance of risk management, paralegals must also give risk management due consideration.
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With many law firms now engaged in complex litigation, developing proactive risk management strategies has taken center stage. As such, modern law firms are now laying the groundwork for solid risk management strategies, many of which are rooted in solid calendaring and docketing.
Your job as a paralegal may very well entail ensuring that court date calculation and rules-based calendaring technologies are being properly utilized, thereby avoiding costly mistakes, improving efficiencies, and minimizing risks that may lead to malpractice lawsuits. If your employer does not utilize these technologies and relies only on manual techniques, your job may be more challenging.
Risk management technologies work employing:
- Review the malpractice mandates of your insurance company. Understanding your insurance company’s calendar automation requirements and disaster recovery plans can ensure you are always in compliance.
- Encourage everyone to move to one, cohesive calendaring system to reduce calendar-related errors. While you’re at it, consider the benefits of integrating your calendar systems with existing platforms (Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Outlook, etc.) to ensure the integrity of your centralized calendar.
- Give special attention to disaster recovery procedures so you are fully prepared in the event of a disaster. This may mean employing a number of business continuity procedures, such as duplicate entry and centralized calendaring.
- Provide everyone with easy access to the centralized calendar using a calendaring portal. Establishing a calendaring portal allows anyone—lawyers and clients alike—to access the calendar via the Web.