Folks who’ve worked with me know about my 30-minute rule for e-mail. Take at least 30 minutes to read it, think about it, and consider an appropriate response. Substantive legal and business responses should take a lot longer than that, days, weeks, and in some cases, months or more. This rule applies equally to just about any communication involving making complex legal and business decisions.
The electronic revolution has given us many a great communication tool including e-mail, blogs, and Twitter, among many others. We can get our opinions out there, real time. However, in the legal profession, you must temper that urge to immediately say what is on your mind. You’ll make mistakes. And some mistakes can be very costly.
Frank Partnoy, a law professor, has written a book that I’ve added to my summer reading list, Wait: The Art of Science and Delay. The Wall Street Journal has a good write up on it today. According to the author’s blog:
” … decisions of all kinds, whether “snap” or long-term strategic, benefit from being made at the last possible moment. The art of knowing how long you can afford to delay before committing is at the heart of many a great decision—whether in a corporate takeover or a marriage proposal.”
Abraham Lincoln once penned, “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade”. That is true more so these days. Rushing is not good for business or the law. It also cheapens our profession and craft. Be bold and take risks, but take your time. Really. How much? It depends on the issue at hand.
Will post my comments on Partnoy’s book as soon as I finish reading it.