I currently have many really interesting matters I am working on. One of the matters had a large deadline a few weeks ago, which was then extended for a week. You can’t work on a large project without it impacting other work you have. The extension was a blessing and a curse because the pleading created was much better thanks to the deadline, but it certainly delayed me from focusing on other matters on my desk.
I know I can call a client to reset expectations and tell them my work on their matter is going to take longer than I initially explained, but I try not to do so unless it really becomes necessary. To me, the matters I am working on for different clients all are important. Even though deadlines can impact what rises to the top of my desk, I try to work in a timely manner based on the initial expectation I have set for a specific client.
For the last month, this has required me to work many nights and weekends to do what I have said I would within the time frames I set. I could have called clients to change that timing, but doing so would have just continued the problem of catching up while other matters with upcoming deadlines keep popping up and requiring attention. This also ignores new matters coming in, some of which require immediate attention.
By working in this manner, I have managed to meet my clients’ expectations. It hasn’t been easy, but part of it is meeting the expectations I have set for myself regarding how I work with and treat clients. It isn’t meant to be some sort of self-imposed torture forcing myself to work so hard. Instead it’s part of how I want to treat my clients and how I want to protect my reputation for doing what I say I am going to do by the deadlines I have set. By working this way, I am trying to manage and meet the expectations I have set for my clients and the expectations I have set for myself.
As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy's Blog.
About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000.