Blowing Deadlines

Blowing deadlines is an inevitable part of legal practice since deadlines are imposed upon you by third parties who do not care about your other client or life priorities. If you have blown a client deadline and you are experiencing guilt or anxiety, the best thing to do is to own up to it in some form by email and hope that will be the end of it. There is the gentle “my bad” type email – “Apologies for the delay!”, “Sorry for the radio silence!” or “Apologies for the long lead time here!”  There is the bold unverifiable lie that you can use once per client – “Must have made it to my spam folder!”, “The firm’s servers have been down!” or "So sorry, looks like this has been sitting in my outbox for a couple weeks!"  There is the plea for sympathy – “Apologies, I have had a horrible flu!” or “Catching up here, had a medical procedure!”  There is the vague high drama email – “I am a failure!”, “This is my last email!” or “Tragedy struck last week!”  There is the blame shifting email - "Apologies, I'll follow-up with my team.", "Let me ping Dennis again on this." or "I am just as upset about this as you are, let me crack the whip on Dennis."  Some of my favorite attempts at acknowledging a delay are those who truly don't care but still feel some moral obligation to address the issue - "Attached.”, “I’ll try for next week.”, “This is low on my radar right now.” or “Please direct all further questions regarding this matter to Dennis.”