It is accurate to assume that most attorneys use email to communicate, either personally or for law firm business. Yet certain aspects of email etiquette for lawyers are often overlooked. As a legal marketing agency, Furia Rubel keeps on top of the ethical ramifications of written communications. Emails to clients are considered legal documents and can be binding contracts. They are an impression of professionalism of your law firm as well as you as an attorney. There are things that can be easily done to make emailing in your law firm professional and organized.
Be responsive in a timely manner
Lawyers are notorious for not responding to emails and telephone calls in a timely manner. In fact, in legal marketing, we often come across law firms which differentiate themselves on their commitment to responsiveness. For example, positioned as “the world’s most-responsive law firm, Laner Muchin holds their firm out to return all client calls within two hours, and even faster in emergencies. They call it the Two-Hour Commitment policy, which applies to email. Responsiveness is imperative when lawyers hold themselves out to providing excellent service.
Beware of the content in your email
While it’s nothing new, attorneys should check and double-check the content of every email before hitting the send button. Just like you proofread your snail mail correspondence before signing it, email should be handled the same way. Above the Law shared some great tips in: Email Etiquette for Lawyers – Beware of the Send Button.
Keep it concise
In a world where attention spans have gotten shorter, emails should be short and sweet. Get to the point immediately and state what the next step is, if any. The shorter and more specific the email, the more likely the recipient will respond, and the more effective the message will be.
Be mindful of the contacts in the To, CC and BCC fields of your email
Double check who you are sending the email to, as the “To” field often auto-populates. Working in a law firm, it would be detrimental if a client’s private or privileged information was sent out accidently. When replying to an email, don’t always hit reply all. Sometimes all of the people on the chain do not need to be involved, nor should they be privy to certain information.
Adapt the subject line of your email to the topic
When an email thread changes subject to another matter being discussed; change the name in the subject line as well. This helps to provide clarity and will help you and your law team when you’re searching for emails on a particular topic.
Check font, style, size and color
Often when composing emails, we cut and paste content that we want to include, either from documents or from other emails. Make sure to keep the font, color and size consistent throughout the body copy of your correspondence. Otherwise, it is not only apparent to the recipient that you didn’t actually draft the email in totality, but it looks sloppy.
Use correct grammar and spelling
Text messaging has altered the English language. In texting, proper grammar and spelling have generated into acronyms and abbreviations with a lack of punctuation. While OMGs and SMHs are fine in instant messages and texts, steer clear of them in email messaging. Utilizing the spelling and grammar review tool is a simple step to check your work.
Technology has been a conduit for workplace productivity. For the foreseeable future, email will remain a critical component of business communications. Keep your correspondence polished and organized to maintain your law firm’s overall image and to safeguard your clients’ confidential and privileged information.