Sunday, October 25, 2009
Lawyers as Timekeepers
As mentioned before, lawyers have a job that requires that they work as the middleman in certain relationships (between the owner and contractors, for example). This week's classes brought to light the importance of our role as timekeepers. To get a variance issued, there are certain procedural processes that one must do before the board accepts them. One of those procedures is to have the proposal published 15 days previous to the board's next meeting. If it is published even 14 days prior, the variance is no good. As the attorney for our client, it is up to us to not only fill out the paper work properly, but to also make sure that it is turned in by this deadline. Generally, this is the practice for all attorneys in all areas of the law, and is a lesson we should learn before making that mistake. Missing deadlines can lose cases, or variances, or even make a contract to buy a piece of property void. It is deemed so important that the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 states "[A] lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client." (Emphasis added) Reasonable diligence and promptness requires keeping up with such deadlines, and insuring that all are made. Overlooking such deadlines can lead not only to problems with our client and that relationship with the client, but also problems with the Bar, or potentially opening up yourself to a malpractice lawsuit. Thus, as lawyers, we always need to keep in mind our role as a time keeper in all situations, and take that role very seriously.