For lawyers, etiquette is very important when it comes to communicating with their clients and prospects. While it’s safe to assume that most lawyers use email to communicate (either personally or for law firm business), there are still certain aspects of email etiquette that they often overlook.
First and foremost, emails to clients are often treated as legal documents, and can act as binding contracts. Therefore, such emails are an impression of professionalism of a law firm, and of you – the attorney.
Here are 6 tips to live by when lawyers and law firms email clients and or other people of importance to ensure a professional, composed image:
Know Your Email Recipients
“When lawyers use email, they have to know who they’re talking to,” says Georgette Swan, a business writer at LiaHelp and Oxessays. “Whether they’re emailing clients – or potential ones – they have to present a professional tone from start to finish. That means avoiding too much ‘text-talk,’ and using plain English and complete sentences.”
It’s important to have clarity in your emails. Why? Because no one wants to waste time reading a long email to find the main points. So, why make your email a novel when you should only give them what they need?
If you MUST convey multiple ideas to your recipients, then consider using bullet points to better organize your message in. The easier your recipients can read your email, the more willing they’ll be to respond to you.
Know Your “To,” “Bc,” And “Cc”
- When sending emails, be sure to double check who you’re sending them to. Consider the following:
- The “To” field often auto-populates.
- The “Bc” field implies that you’re sending a “blind carbon copy,” meaning that you can send a message to conceal the person entered in that field from the other recipients.
- The “Cc” field means “carbon copy,” and it’s for sending the email to everyone on your mailing list. DO NOT USE THIS OPTION, if you’re emailing sensitive data via email.
Plus, when replying to an email, don’t always hit reply all, since sometimes not everyone on the chain needs to be involved, nor know certain information.
Proofread Before You Send
Wait! Before you send that email, check it first. Keep these objectives in mind:
- Are there any typos, misspelled words, bad grammar, etc.?
- Is the email addressed to the right person(s)?
- Does the email make sense?
When in doubt, proofread your email before hitting the “Send” button.
Have A Professional Email Signature
“If you want your clients or other recipients to contact you after receiving your email, then be sure to have a professional email signature,” says William Rhodes, a blogger at Revieweal and Ukservicesreviews. “It’s never okay to assume that recipients will automatically know who you are just by looking at your email address – most people won’t even look at the email address.”
In your signature block, it should:
- Introduce yourself
- Tell recipients who you represent, AND
- Act as a refresher
“Plus, if you have a working website and social media accounts, be sure to add those to your signature block,” adds Rhodes. “You can also add your law firm’s logo to add a visual touch to your signature.”
Write An Appropriate Subject Line
Finally, is your subject line at its best? If not, consider looking at it.
The subject line has to convey the email as a whole, while being straightforward. Stick to professional subject lines like, “Details for conference call at noon on 12/1/2021,” or make it obvious by saying “[Action Items Inside]” or “[Response Needed by 12/5/2021].”
So, there you have it! Our 6 tips on how to perfect your email etiquette in the legal field. As email continues to be a critical component of business communications, be sure you keep your correspondence polished and organised to maintain your law firm’s overall professionalism.
Written by Kristin Herman. Kristin Herman is a writer and editor at Big Assignments and Top Canadian writers. She is also a contributing writer for online publications, such as Academized review. As a marketing writer, she blogs about the latest trends in digital advertising.
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