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December 11, 2003


David Giacalone

Whether or not the error here was excusable I will leave to experts in that topic (although making sure that appeal deadlines are met in an appellate practice is awfully important and basic). In general, it would seem to me that a lawyer should be held equally responsible (should suffer the same consequences) when the mistake is made by a non-lawyer staffer than when it is made by the lawyer, as delegation is a necessity in every law office. However, at times, the delegation can be done so recklessly (with so little training or supervision) that the delegation itself becomes the problem and warrants stricter consequences for the lawyer than would happen if the lawyer himself made the mistake absentmindfully. That's because the reckless delegation intolerably increases the likelihood of mistakes being made.

Perhaps, there are aspects of a law practice -- such as calculating and noting the appeal deadline when the matter first arrives -- that are indeed too important to delegate. That's especially true if they can be handled quickly and accurately by the attorney before turning a file over to underlings.

Kenneth Ofgang

The Ninth Circuit granted en banc review of this ruling on May 7, 2004.


I am currently having an issue with Vincent Andrews Management and their attorney that represents them. I am trying to find out the name of the attorney that was responsible in this case to see if it is in fact the same person. Is that listed anywhere? Thank you!

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