When a handoff goes badly, it’s nearly always the fault of the associate. Yeah, I know associates hate it when I blame them, but in this instance, it’s usually the case. It’s true that the senior lawyer should have anticipated the need to make a handoff and done it in a smooth, orderly manner before hitting the red line. But, that’s not how life in a law firm works. Associates are expected to rise to the occasion. Most often, the problem is that the associate under-communicates and delays interaction. They get the assignment and then have lots of reasons for failing to move forward with communication. The client is already upset with the lack of action. Then the associate makes it worse by moving slowly.