Use Outlook to Manage Limitation Dates

This upcoming monday I will be presenting at a CLE-BC seminar on the new Limitation Act here in British Columbia.

In advance of that presentation, I am taking a snippet from my paper on how to use Microsoft Outlook to manage limitation dates.

Of all the tasks that must be done in a law office, few of them have such long reaching professional implications as missing a limitation date. Missing a limitation date involves significant personal and professional embarrassment, loss of trust with the client, possible negligence liability, having to report to your Insurance Fund and not the least of all, loss of face.

Despite all the implications of a lawyer missing a limitation date, it is still a regular occurrence in law firms.

Managing limitation dates along with reminders of other important dates is a task that can be systematized. While paper calendars and/ or index cards organized by month, date and year was the traditional way of keeping up on limitation dates, these days computer calendars offer a distinct advantage over paper-based systems. One of the biggest advantages is of course the fact that electronic calendars can “push” reminders out to lawyers and staff while paper calendars must be examined (you pull the information off a paper calendar).

Given the fact that so many electronic calendars are now synchronized with smart phones, this now means that lawyers can obtain reminders of limitation and other important dates wherever they happen to be. This is another advantage as compared to the paper-based calendar or card system that lies sitting in the lawyer’s office.

This is just one tip on how to use the capabilities of Outlook to look after limitation (and other important dates).  This tip concerns using “Categories” in Outlook:




Outlook allows you to create Categories, which is a way to group similar tasks (such as limitation reminders and tasks, for example).

While categories have many uses, one could use them to draw extra attention to limitation date reminders that are ‘tasks’ or To-Dos within the To-Do Bar.

You can rename an existing category to “Limitation Date” as I have done in the above picture (colored red). From now on I can ‘tag’ a To-Do as a Limitation Date – and it would appear with this red box next to it –bringing it prominently to your attention.

You can also use Categories for appointments in the Calendar and mark them as limitation dates:

limitation date

As you can see, once you have created “Limitation Date” as a category, you can click on “Categorize” in the Ribbon and specify an appointment in your calendar as a Limitation Date. The extra visual ‘kick’ that this adds to the appointment makes it stand out.

Here is how the appointment stands out in your calendar view:

calendar entry

 —David J. Bilinsky, Vancouver.

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