How to Know When Deadlines Are Important as a Lawyer

From case filings and document submissions, to statutes of limitations and trial dates, meeting deadlines is a fact of life in the legal industry. Missing important deadlines can sideline your practice, resulting in lost cases and a poor reputation.

In 2021, one-third of medical malpractice claims had litigation errors, according to an industry report. The biggest issue was missed deadlines regarding the statute of limitations, discovery, and summons.

Continue reading to learn which deadlines are the most important to your firm’s success and how practice management software can help you stay on top of them.

Returning Client Phone Calls

Responding to client phone calls quickly is integral to providing excellent service. Delaying or ignoring these calls can lead to client frustration and negatively impact your professional reputation.

Typically, the deadline for returning a client call is within 24 hours. This demonstrates that you’re attentive to your clients’ needs and respect their concerns. For instance, they may seek updates on their cases, ask for legal advice, or need reassurance.

Using tools like automatic notifications through your practice management system can let you know when clients reach out and remind you to return their calls within a reasonable timeframe.

Form Submissions

Form submissions, including contact forms and document uploads, are vital for your firm’s client intake and lead generation. If your practice offers a Guarantee of Response within a certain timeframe, say 48 hours, it’s crucial to respond quickly to build trust and attract new cases.

To stay on top of these inquiries that include consultations to document sharing, your firm needs streamlined operations that delegate who responds and when. An automated system can help you track and manage these submissions with timely notifications and individual to-do lists for firm personnel. 

This ensures every client receives a prompt acknowledgment, streamlining the intake process and boosting satisfaction rates.

Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are some of the most critical deadlines your firm faces. Whether it’s a two-year statute for filing a personal injury claim or a one-year deadline for product liability, you must file all relevant Notice of Claims and court documents on time. If you don’t, your client loses the right to compensation.

Managing a case calendar through digital practice management software is a practical way to track a case’s timeline and receive timely reminders about crucial deadlines, including those related to the case’s statute of limitations.

Centralized storage capabilities and integration with legal tools and databases can also streamline document management, ensuring you have all the forms and legal precedents you need to file a well-supported claim on time and preserve your client’s rights.

Submitting Paperwork to Insurance Companies/Workers’ Compensation Commission

For cases like auto accidents and workers’ compensation claims, you must adhere to strict deadlines set by your state’s insurance and workers’ compensation laws. For example, in South Carolina, your client must report the accident within 90 days or risk losing medical and wage benefits through the state’s workers’ comp program.

Keeping track of various deadlines and forms can feel overwhelming, especially if you practice in multiple states. Having a dedicated case tracking software that you can access from anywhere, anytime, helps make you and your team more organized and efficient.

This ensures you never hold up a client’s case and provides quick access to customizable forms so you can make timely submissions.

Social Security Administration

If your firm deals with disability claims for injured workers, you already understand the importance of Social Security Administration (SSA) deadlines. These can include:

  • Initial Claim Submissions: Around 5 months before receiving benefits
  • Appeal for Denied Claims: Around 60 days from the decision date
  • Requests for Reconsideration by the Appeals Council or Federal Court: Around 60 days from the last decision

With these tight deadlines, using integrated calendars and a case management platform helps track each step in the disability claim process, from initial submissions to appeals. These tools offer reminders for upcoming deadlines, helping your firm stay on top of necessary actions without missing essential dates and supporting your clients’ efforts to appeal and secure benefits effectively.

Court/Trial-Related Deadlines

As a practicing attorney, you may often represent clients at court hearings as part of the trial process. For instance, handling personal injury claims can include pre-trial hearings, meetings for mediation, settlement negotiations, and case management conferences.

If you miss the cutoff for discovery or filing a motion for summary judgment, it could cost your client their case and leave your firm with a hefty bill for preparation. To stay informed and organized, use cloud-based software to promptly access email and court correspondents.

You can also use calendar tools like Google Calendar or Office 365 to input deadlines into your schedule weeks ahead of time so you stay organized. This can help prepare you and your team for court hearings, meetings, and deadlines, ensuring your firm remains fully prepared and in the loop about upcoming proceedings and requirements.

Track Your Legal Deadlines with backdocket

Staying on top of your firm’s legal deadlines can be challenging without the right tools. As a cloud-based legal practice management software, backdocket has deadline-tracking capabilities that help you meet deadlines at your practice for better case outcomes and client satisfaction.

With backdocket, integrated calendars let you see practice-wide and individual schedules, and its to-do lists ensure you can see tasks that need to be completed. Case management features like timeline tracking and real-time notifications in a mobile-friendly interface simplify keeping on top of all key dates and obligations throughout the life of the case.

Schedule your free demo of backdocket today to simplify deadline tracking and improve case management at your firm.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

Request A Free Demo