Lawyers might not like to hear this, but sometimes we make mistakes.
In his New York Times bestseller The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande highlights how dedicated use of simple checklists helps professionals of all levels and types – doctors to engineers to pilots – avoid mistakes and if there are mistakes recover quickly.
Sometimes we might over complicate things or forget other things. There’s no shame in it as long as we admit it and put steps in place to save us from ourselves.
Checklists are a great way to give your clients easy access to key information or to remind yourself and others on the steps involved.
The bible for checklist lovers. The Checklist Manifesto is an amazing book and a very interesting read. Whilst it does lacks instructions on how to make your own checklists and use them in everyday life, it will inspire you to try and implement them (and hopefully Checklist Legal will too!)
Jennifer Romig writes a great short piece on applying the prinicples of Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto to legal writing. Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, Vol. 8, 2011, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 11-145
An excellent example of checklists being used to help is the DASH (Domestic abuse, stalking and harassment) checklist which saves lives with earlier intervention and prevention of domestic abuse and stalking. See also the brief article on the OJ Simpson Trial and the DASH Checklist here.
The Law Society of British Columbia has developed an impressive number of checklists for legal practice. Whilst they may not be perfect for your area of law or jurisdiction, they are an amazing example and inspiration of what is possible for legal practice checklists. See for example the Asset Purchase Procedure Word | pdf
The Tech Startup Lawyer has promised a series of posts covering checklists for key issues that start up companies face including financing, founders, and acquisitions…. At the moment there’s only one for incorporation, but I am interested to see these when they crop up.
Checklist lovers beware! Do not spend all your days poring through the imposing number of checklists at contractstandards.com/checklists/… Use them as inspiration for your own checklists or compare your current documents against these clever checklists (again, being mindful of requirements for your jurisdiction).
Plain Language + a Checklist… enough said!
A great app (android and iOS) as well as web based and PC application which you can use to create template checklists, share checklists with others and generally keep your life in order.
A helpful quick and easy mind map tool (web based) which can assist with mapping out ideas for your checklist processes.
Most people would have heard of Evernote by now, but it is a great way to capture ideas for checklists or use the webpage plug in Clearly to snag other people’s checklists for inspiration 🙂
If you want to build up a morning or evening routine but aren’t sure where to start, Fabulous is a great way to build up those positive habits you want to stick to with easy to use checklists built in (or customise with your own items).