You need Email. As a person. As a lawyer.
Email has become as important as the telephone, maybe more so because so many of us can cut right to the point without the time-burning “fluff” and “niceties” that are attached to most phone calls. Emails sent to colleagues and the people we work with every day, will patiently sit there in their inbox until their time is freed up and they have mentally shifted gears and purposefully switch tasks to focus on unread emails. A phone call, statistically, will be interrupting someone’s day or routine. If you count the emails you send in one day and considered the extra time that it would have taken if you had called each and every person or company instead of firing off a purposeful email, you would agree, that those of us who’s financial success or demise rely on focusing on client matters and eventually invoicing clients for a finite number of hours, we must strive to work as efficiently as we can. You may never have thought this through, but we trust you will agree that Email is a BIG help! A real time-saver and money-maker.
Email is not without its problems
You check email at home on your desktop computer, laptop or tablet computer. Or, if a caffeine addicted counselor, perhaps you are like the many attorneys who will be found enjoying ten luxurious minutes at your local Starbucks checking your iPad, iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. When you arrive at your office and get to your comfy desk and check email again you are on yet another computer hardware device. If you have time to think, have you ever wondered what options are available for synchronizing your e-mail such that read, unread, replied, and deleted e-mails exist on all of your devices in real-time status at the exact same time?
and able to NOT check email during our date.”
The average lawyer routinely uses 5 computer devices
These days, most lawyers use an office computer, a laptop, a home computer, an iPad or other tablet and an iPhone, Android, or other smart phone. That’s 5 devices! Checking e-mail on any or all of the typical attorney’s 5 devices is a common, daily occurrence. However, depending on what type of e-mail service you currently have, chances are good that these various computer devices will simply not stay in-sync.
An e-mail you read and replied to on your iPad before leaving the house in the morning, may show up as unread on your desktop PC or not show up at all. An email system that could keep your e-mails in-sync between devices would definitely save time and confusion. Not syncing devices can cause real problems. That motion your paralegal finished late last night and emailed you as an attachment looked fine on your iPad before you left the house this morning, but now as you arrive at the staples next to the courthouse to have it printed out, is missing from your smart phone as you search your iPhone’s email!
Most People… Most Lawyers… have POP3 Email (Ancient) –or– IMAP Email. (Better)
Whether your e-mail synchronizes often depends on what type of e-mail system you have. There are two widely used e-mail formats: POP3 (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). The main difference between the two email protocols is how they treat messages on the remote server of your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or the website hosting service where your website –and by default– email server lives. POP3 tends to be the most commonly used. Typically, using a POP3 protocol, the your emails are downloaded from the ISP or email server who hosts your website into your email “client.” An email client has been, for the past 5-8 years, a software program on your desktop or laptop such as Outlook Express (no longer supported) or Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, Thunderbird or some other email client. Hotmail, Ymail, and Gmail, free email services are called “Web-based email clients.” One is a software program on your computer while the other web-based services reside completely on the Internet or “cloud” if you prefer the new lingo.
POP3 Email Protocol
POP3 will store your email messages on the server so that each time you connect with a different device it will download any NEW (unread) emails to that device only. POP3 is the default “Joe-homeowner” protocol that most self-installing software clients default to and you may be clueless about. POP3 setups are easy to configure, but sacrifices the two-way communication that IMAP email protocols use. This two-way communication checks for read vs. unread email status but still does not always provide for a reliable syncing of your devices. POP3 was designed and distributed before tablets and smart phones, when most everyone accessed their emails from just one device and one software email client. Lawyers and business owners will experience difficulties when they attempt to access their email account from different computer devices having separate email client software where their daily emails do not stay in sync.
IMAP Email Protocol
IMAP Email protocol allows two-way communication between the Email server and any number of software clients on any number of computer devices. IMAP protocol “flags” emails as “unread,” “read,” or “deleted” as well as other various Email status (spam, etc.) on the server itself, so that when you access your Email from whatever device, your email that was read at home this morning will appear to be read when you look at it on your iPad at Starbucks an hour later. IMAP helps sync the status of all of your Emails across any devices that are set-up to use IMAP protocol. If one or more of your devices is set to POP3 protocol, you may not even know it, but you might find yourself scratching your head about what you are seeing on those devices.
You will be seeing the same Emails, reporting the same status (unread, read, replied, deleted) on your desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone simultaneously if your Email clients are all set up to take advantage of IMAP. If you were to use any of those devices to read, reply, or delete an Email, IMAP will show the exact same mirror condition of the same information on all of your devices in real time. Most lawyers, who have grown to be dependent on a variety of devices in different locations would appreciate this technology.
So What is Hosted Email?
Hosted Email is the next generation of Email that was first introduced over a decade ago with such services as Hotmail. Yahoo took Hotmail’s experiences and created a perfected hosted Email solution marketed as Yahoo mail. Google, as usual, squashed their predecessors by unveiling their Hosted Email called Gmail. Unfortunately, lawyers and business owners cannot cheapen their professional status nor dilute the branding efforts by using a FREE Email service to conduct business. Moreover, these FREE Emails are scanned by their email service provider so they can target ads to you that “magically” produce ADS for you that regurgitate something you might have mentioned in what you assumed was private correspondence! Hosted Email goes a lot further to integrate your entire law practice into one private, bank-secure, collaboration information platform.
Hosted Email is a service you subscribed to. – Generally not offered from your Website’s Hosting Company
Why switch to a Hosted Email System?
Web Based – Access Your Email from Anywhere!
We love Outlook
2005 , 2007, 2010, and 2013, but you can be weened off –or not… your choice!
When you use Hosted Email the way it was intended to be used (and it IS addictive…), then there is no further need for the now-discontinued Outlook Express or Outlook 20?? that you are likely using. NICOTINE PATCH: If you are completely hooked on using the Desktop-dependent Outlook Software Client, relax! Hosted Email acts just like any other email server and will allow you to continue to use your Outlook Client. Warning: You might feel your dependency shifting from Outlook to the amazingly powerful Web Dashboard for your Hosted Email, Calendar, Contact Lists, and Briefcase (Cloud Storage Files for your current clients and cases) —all accessible from ANY of your 5 typical devices!
The Upside to Hosted Email?
Hosted Email can be very useful and addictive for lawyers who are often away from their primary computer. Your ability to reply to an Email from any device, from anywhere, at anytime, is incredibly liberating and can save time and make you money in needless trips to a central location. The fact that Hosted Email automatically syncs all of your devices means that when you get back to your office after a long day out of the office where you answered a number of emails from your iPad, the Email account you see on your desktop is completely mirroring that which you last accessed on your iPad. The net result is no more searching different devices for emails or attached critical files or forwarding Email responses to yourself.
Get an inexpensive Email Hosting System Today. $36/Month gets a 3-User Account: (i.e. Lawyer, Paralegal, Reception)
You can start with 3-Users (minimum) for $36/month, and then add any number of additional users at anytime for $12/month per user. No long term contracts. No need. It’s addicting! 🙂 Get the email services you need and the encrypted email your bar association may soon expect you to have in place to protect your client’s privacy by contacting the talented geeks from at lawSITES.PRO.
The right email account will bolster you professional image but requires some consideration and planning
Email is an indispensable tool for attorneys, and has been for the past decade. According to the 2007 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, some 97% of respondents said that they use email at work for routine correspondence. More than 70% of respondents said that they use email for case status, memoranda and briefs. Email is also used by many attorneys for marketing, client correspondence, document delivery, billing,and court filings.
While setting up a new email account is but a 5-minute effort and email service can be obtained form dozens of sources, getting an -mail account that will bolster you professional image requires some extra consideration and planning. Here are lawSITES.PRO’s tips:
Proper Email Etiquette means separating your work and home email accounts
You wouldn’t co-mingle your trust fund with your personal checking account; don’t mix your law practice emails with personal emails. There are a lot of reasons this is a good idea. Having a separate email address for work may help you reduce junk email (“spam”) at work. A separate email account will make your record keeping easier. You will be less likely to miss an important client or associate email. A separate email account keeps you from unveiling your personal email address to strangers. Finally, it’s simply more professional.
Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.”
Proper Email Etiquette means avoiding FREE Email services at ALL costs
Use your name or the name of your firm. Howard@DallasDivorceLaw.com looks a lot more professional than DodgersFan22@aol.com or
Proper Email Etiquette using a company domain or descriptive private domain name
If you have your own web site already, there’s a good chance your web hosting company offers email addresses that use your own domain name (e.g. Howard@DallasDivorceLaw.com) as part of your website hosting service. If you don’t already have a domain name for your business or law practice, consider getting one. Even if you don’t yet have a website, you can secure your upcoming website domain name at GoDaddy.com and get email service immediately for about $10 per month. Better yet, call us and get SSL protected, encrypted Hosted & Encrypted Email Service for 3 persons for $12 per person per month. Besides your professional domain name, you will abide by bar association standards using encrypted email, and have a calendar system that you and your staff can use to better manage your busy office.
Not a good idea:
Better, more professional options:
The other day, during routine research for a client we visited the website of an IP (Intellectual Property) law firm with six attorneys. Two have an email that used the law practice’s domain name (that brands and reinforces the website address every time an email is sent). The other four lawyers had FREE or PERSONAL email addresses. One had ____@Gmail.com email addresses, one had ____@Earthlink.net, one had ____@AOL.com address and the 4th had firstname.lastname@example.org. NetZERO was marketed as the poor-man’s dial-up service for years!
We’re talking about a “high-tech Intellectual Property law firm representing engineers and silicon valley clients on the cutting-edge. Potential clients might assume that an IP law practice could figure out how to get their email accounts configured to use the firm domain.
Present a thoroughly professional appearance —Build your Law Firm Brand simultaneously
You as the owner of a law practice or a business of any kind should purpose to present a thoroughly professional appearance to the world at large. This means ditching your FREE email accounts for a business-domain related email account. All you have to do is go to a registrar service or hosting service that sells domain names such as GoDaddy.com, BlueHost.com, HostGator, GreenGeeks.com and so forth. If you don’t know how to do this then give us a call. We’ll set you up in a hurry. This is not a big-ticket item —but rewards you with big ticket “branding” and professionalism.
Upshot? Your overriding concern should be having email addresses for you and your staff that reflects that you are serious about your law practice and up-to-date on common every-day technology. Moderately technical potential clients will raise eyebrows at lawyers who ignorantly use FREE or obviously personal ISP email accounts.
Don’t Be A Novelist
Email messages should be short, concise and to the point. Think of it as a telephone conversation, except you are typing instead of speaking. Nobody has ever won a Pulitzer Prize for a phone conversation nor will they win one for a clever, but overly-lengthy email message: so don’t work at being long-winded —instead work at getting to the point.
Consider too, that many busy people receive hundreds of emails a day and the last thing they want to see is a message from someone who thinks he or she is an up-and-coming novelist. Cut to the chase.
Business professionals and lawyers should not get caught up in grammar and punctuation excesses. You obviously have people in your network who send tons of email messages where they pound out a half-dozen exclamation points at the end of a sentence for added emphasis. We use “!” a lot here at lawSITES.PRO’s for easy to remember, but hard to break passwords for our clients. In computer circles, exclamation points are called “bangs.” Spelling out !password! over the phone would be read out loud as: “BANG—P—A—S—S—W—O—R—D—BANG”. We would strongly suggest that you do not over use punctuation as a legal professional. If something is vitally important it should be clearly spelled out in your text, not in your punctuation.
Smileys — 🙂 or 🙁
We have mixed feelings on “smileys.” Many experts say categorically: “Lose the emoticons they make you seem unprofessional. Business email should not have little smileys in them.” We don’t always subscribe to that because we’ve seen friendships ruined and clients offended because the tone and tenor of an email was wrongly interpreted. If used sparingly to head off a potential misunderstanding: fine! Because there are no visual or auditory cues when sending and receiving an email, savvy digital-communicators will use short-codes known and interpreted as “smileys” or emoticons. Smileys are simple strings of characters that are sparingly interspersed in an email text to convey the writer’s emotions (cues). The most common example is “:-)”. Turn your head to the left and you should see a happy face (the colon are the eyes, the dash is the nose and the parentheses is the mouth). Here are some more examples.
||Wink (light sarcasm)|
||Devilish grin (heavy sarcasm)|
||Shock or surprise|
||Frown (anger or displeasure)|
NOTE: “Smilies” are so popular that your browser will translate many of our punctuation examples for you 🙁
Upshot? – Because there are no visual cues like when you speak “in person” or auditory cues when you speak “by phone,” it is hard to read tone in an email, which is why “smileys” or emoticons were invented. You must be on guard and be careful about your written tone. Be overly cautious not to inject an ‘attitude’ or unintended sarcasm into your emails or replies to emails. Moreover, give the writers of emails where you think you read “an attitude” the benefit of the doubt. Email etiquette for lawyers means that you should always go out of your way to be upbeat and polite.
was an appropriate way to end a lawyer’s email.”
–A ‘Fun’ Client of LawSITES
–wears a polkadot bow tie at arraignments
No matter what: REPLY. Acknowledge your senders promptly that you received their message, even if you do not have the time nor sufficient information to answer right away. Even if no particular response is required, it is good email etiquette to acknowledge that someone is thinking about you. Minimally reply with a “thanks.” Never allow email to mail pile up in your inbox without acknowledging its receipt.
Email etiquette suggests that if you are on the CC line, do not reply. Your are on the CC line for a reason — and that reason is FYI: “for your information only.” The sender and receivers on the “to” line are the players and you shouldn’t butt in unless someone invites you into the conversation.
Don’t be the “crazy uncle in the attic” —Think & review before hitting “SEND”
Don’t forget the attachment! You reference the PDF, the motion, picture or document, but don’t be the guy or gal that always forgets the attachment. People will think you are in early-stage dementia or just lack focus and attention-to-detail. Your email client (such as Outlook) has a spell-checker – never fail to spell-check your email. Don’t send an email with nothing in the subject line! That’s plain infuriating and lazy.
Keep the subject line current
If the subject of back-and-forth email exchange (a thread or conversation) departs or takes off on a tangent from the original topic, it is perfectly okay to do some housekeeping and alter the subject line to keep everyone’s inboxes in order. Your recipients will appreciate your attention-to-detail and thoughtfulness.
Answer all questions presented
A common email diversion among lawyers and other busy professionals is to cherry-pick a long email and only respond to the easy or less-dicey questions. If there are line-items that you are not prepared to answer or strategically don’t want to deal with, it is better to acknowledge them with a comment that you cannot accurately answer now. Your email sender will not be “clueless” that you purposefully ignored some questions and left them unresolved. It is better and more professional to respond to each question or matter, even if it means acknowledging you don’t know or cannot yet answer. Upshot? – Don’t make people have to re-ask the same questions over and over because you chose to ignore portions of their original email.
Call us – If you need fast help setting up your Email for a more professional image.
If you need assistance setting up email accounts on your existing business domain name, or need a new domain name and emails set-up, give us a call. It will not take more than a day or two to get set-up and functional resulting in a more professional appearance and the beginning of “branding” your legal practice. Better yet, call us and get SSL protected, encrypted Hosted Email service for your office. The service starts with a minimum 3 persons for $12 per person per month; and you can add additional individuals as the need arises. We can take your existing non-secure email accounts and replace them with secure email hosting too. You will abide by many bar associations’ new requirements for using encrypted email. Moreover, hosted email is unique in that it syncs all your emails, calendars and case files to all of your computers and devices (office, home, laptop, tablets, and smart phones). Finally, your shared-calendar, shared-contacts, and shared document ‘briefcases’ can be shared amongst your associates and staff to better manage your busy law practice.