Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 10, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle (c) 2009

SUMMARY:  The common conception of what is an urgent task is too narrow.

Deadlines rule the life of a lawyer. Self-imposed, imposed by others, deadlines determine in great part what we must do on a given day.

The task with the closest deadline is viewed as the most urgent – – and perhaps it usually is. But what about the rest of them?  Must there be a deadline for a task to acquire urgency?

What about opportunity?

Napoleon crossed the Alps in the winter, surprising and confounding the enemy.  If you’re not into European history, George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve in a raging snow storm with the same effect. If either had scheduled the event to a more convenient time, the element of surprise and the opportunity for victory would have been greatly diminished, even lost. Thus, it was urgent to cross the Delaware on that very day, not later in the week.

How about earlier completion of (and payment for) a more lucrative task, one without a deadline?

Frequently, completion, or at least satisfactory progress, is a prerequisite to getting paid. In such a case, it is urgent to make good progress to the goal.  Otherwise, the expenses accruing during the period of complacency will eat up the profits. It is urgent to keep moving toward the goal, before it becomes too late.

What about pre-emption by next week’s urgent deadlines?

Next week you may be totally engaged with other urgencies. The chance to do other work may be postponed for some time.  It is urgent to get things done while we can.

Carpe diem.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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