The amount of work that a lawyer has for a given week often ebbs and flows. One week you will have more than you can handle, while the next week you will have barely enough to keep you busy. When you’re lucky, lawyers can manage their workload based on their own personal preferences and schedules. However, sometimes outside circumstances, such as supervisor or client requests, dictate the times in which work must be completed, and you must hurry up and wait.
Tasks and projects that require fast work surface often in the legal field. Sometimes, your supervisor requests that you write a brief, pleading, or research memorandum. While you are more than willing to complete the task, often your supervisor’s given deadline may be far less desirable than you wanted. Other times, one of your clients may request that you do an initial draft of a contract or give her an answer on a legal question. Once again, even though you may genuinely want to do the work, her expectation of when you can reasonably finish it may be unrealistic. Despite being doubtful that you can finish the projects on time, you always defy all odds and get it done in time – even if it means pulling a late night.
Getting a project done within the requested time frame can give you both a sense of relief as well as a sense of accomplishment. Since you were given such a strict and short time frame within which to complete the project, you would expect to have feedback or comments on the project very quickly, if not immediately. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes your supervisor or client gets busy and cannot offer you any sort of response to the work that you have accomplished. Although you may have skipped meals and sleep in order to get the desired product finished, they may not even look at it that day – or even that week! It’s not that your hard work has gone unappreciated or unused, but it has just not received the immediate attention that it seemed to require, especially based on the short time frame within which you had to complete it. It often seems strange that you had to rush and stress so much just to have your work put on the back burner.
Although it can be incredibly frustrating to be forced to hurry up and wait, it is also important to remember to value the free time that you have as a result. Even though your work on the project may have consumed all of your time and exhausted you, it is now done, and you can relax for the time being. While you are waiting on your supervisor or client to give you their feedback on the project, you can complete other tasks or work that you have. Or even better, maybe you could just take a break. Despite any frustration that may accompany the hurry up and wait paradigm, it is always important to remember that in the busy life of the lawyer, lulls in work are hard to come by, so they should be greatly appreciated.