Friday, 5 March 2010

Do or Die Deadlines

On 14th April I am going to Salt Lake City, Utah, and will be visiting a company there called Leatherwood Press. I am supposed to be delivering them the final manuscript of my fourth novel, the one they asked for around this time last year. Unfortunately I haven’t finished it yet. That deadline is looming pretty large at the moment.

Douglas Adams once said “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Sadly, not all of us can have the enlightened attitude to deadlines that the late lamented comic genius did. In the legal profession, a missed deadline or time limit can result in being unable to pursue a claim, major problems for your client, the potential for a costs award against you and a possible negligence claim. For all lawyers, and particularly those working in litigation, deadlines are crucial, and a fact of everyday life. They can also be a tremendous source of stress.

It’s a sad fact of life that prolonged stress can lead to clinical depression. Depression is exhibited in symptoms that include an inability to concentrate, a lack of motivation or interest in anything, sleeplessness, overwhelming apathy and hopelessness. The depressed lawyer may make it in to work, but he will not open the post – he may even hide it, hoping that if he ignores it, it will go away. He will shuffle papers around, may even tap at the computer for a while, but he will not get any productive work done. (I’ve been saying “he”, but of course women suffer from depression too.)

Depression and deadlines don’t mix. If you, or a colleague, seem to be suffering from any of these symptoms – including indifference to matters which might be regarded as urgent – get help. Call LawCare, and see your GP as soon as possible. Right away. Some things are even more important than deadlines.

LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle
of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)
1800 303145 (Barristers in the Republic of Ireland)

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