Make Haste Slowly


I first heard the saying “make haste slowly” a few weeks ago and I was immediately fascinated. The oxmoron was so accurate in its oppositeness. I’ve since learned that this phrase, festina lente, was a favourite among emperors such as Augustus and Titus. They used it to encourage their military to proceed with caution and not make any rash decisions.

While I don’t associate the rule of an empire with the profession of law, I do see the application of this expression in the duty and tasks of a lawyer. In the firm I am part of, a boutique refugee and immigration law firm that handles mostly litigation files, we are constantly moving through a series of deadlines. I don’t think there has been a week when we haven’t made haste. However, despite the fast pace, we must (and do) go over all of our final work products with a fine tooth comb. As all lawyers know, attention to detail matters.  The two concepts seem incongruent but in the practice of law, nothing has ever made more sense.

In my future firm, I envision this adage framed in my office to remind myself and my colleagues that we must make haste slowly.
What is your practice like? Do you agree with Augustus and Titus as well?

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