top of page


A crucial force exists at the heart of every successful law firm: the

associate-level lawyers.

They're the unsung heroes who bear the weight of intricate legal

tasks, fuelling excellence. Recognising their pivotal role, it becomes

imperative for law firms to safeguard them from the looming threat

of burnout.

As they embark on their careers, these initial years are transformative

yet fragile. This is where law firms step in – their responsibility is


It's about shielding these rising stars from needless urgency and

treating them with care, paving the way for lasting success.

It's time to say "no" to the chaos. And yes, to work-life balance.

Saying "no" to unwarranted pressure empowers associates to

channel their energies into delivering quality work.

Associates deserve the chance to shine without the crushing weight

of unrealistic deadlines.

In a law firm, there are three distinct types of urgency when it

comes to handling work:

Real Urgency- Lights, Camera, Action: Think flames are licking at

the edges, demanding immediate attention. Examples include the

personal liberty of your client, bail, anticipatory bail, building

demolition, bank guarantee invocation, and other such real urgent

matters in a true sense.

These situations don't care if it's the crack of dawn or the depths of

the night – action is needed, pronto! Real-world urgency doesn't wait

for a polite hour – it ignites at any moment.

Client-Instigated Artificial Urgency: Urgency Mirage: Ah, the

client's influence game. Here's where it gets wild. In this scenario,

urgency is not genuinely warranted, but clients want tasks

completed swiftly to assert their influence. Clients, wielding power,

craft urgency out of thin air.

Think about it – demanding a masterpiece for tomorrow's breakfast

when the deadline's months away. It's like sprinting a marathon for

no reason. Routine memos, court filings that are a galaxy away, or petitions that could brew over a cup of coffee – all accelerated for the

thrill of it.

Clients who hold significant sway often create this type of "urgent

frenzy," using the threat of switching lawyers as a tactic.

Partner-Driven Deadline Frenzy- The "Weekend Ruiners": This

form of urgency, often hated and most notorious, is imposed by

senior colleagues or partners to accelerate timelines. Need an

application by next week? No problem – just pretend it's due tonight.

Have you ever had a Petition due in days, but you're told to crack it


Picture this: it's Friday evening, you're about to wind down, and bam!

A request drops, turning your weekend plans into a distant memory.

Why? Because they believe squeezing time squeezes

procrastination. Newsflash: It squeezes your sanity, too. It's like

overstuffing your suitcase for a weekend getaway. Burnout lurks

around the corner.

A particularly challenging instance of artificially created urgency

occurs when a partner promises a client to finish a task within an

impressively short time frame, even when it's not necessary. Picture

a client asking how quickly a suit can be prepped for a fortnight￾ahead filing.

The partner, aiming to impress, says three days –

unnecessary stress central. It's like throwing your car into warp speed

on a Sunday drive.

Striking the Right Balance: Quality and Respect in Deadlines

Let's underscore a truth: the associates who roll up their sleeves and

take on the lion's share of the work in every firm deserve recognition.

They're the unsung heroes in the legal world, putting in the elbow

grease to make things happen. But if you keep bombarding them

with impossible timeframes, you invite the "not-so-happy" dance.

Clients, hold up a mirror for a second.

Those tight timelines might sound like a cool challenge but think

about it. If it's not an emergency, let the work breathe. Monday can

handle what doesn't need to be rushed on Friday evening. Imagine,

not everything's an "urgent-now-or-else" situation.

Remember that lawyers' dedication fuels the engine of legal

excellence. However, a recurring pattern of unreasonable deadlines

can sow seeds of resentment and aversion.

The message is clear—when genuine urgency isn't at play, as a client

insisting on impractical timelines isn't constructive.

Likewise, senior colleagues and partners carry an important

responsibility. Associates, those shaping the future of the legal

landscape, bear the brunt of unnecessary time constraints. They join

top-tier law firms to learn and thrive, not to live on caffeine and

stress. It's a game-changer when they're given a fair shot at

delivering their best without racing against time.

Not every associate requires the pressure of a ticking clock to keep

procrastination at bay.

In essence, it's about fostering respect—respect for the craft, respect

for the individuals dedicating their energies, and respect for the

collaborative journey.

Quality over quick fixes, support over stress –the kind of groove the

law firms should aim for.

By making this change, law firms protect their young talent and

empower them to deliver their best.

The concept is simple: if the heavens aren't about to descend,

reconsider summoning unnecessary urgency.

262 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page