RISK AND PRACTICE MANAGEMENT TIP: Email – correspondence or conversation?

For many lawyers, email has become the preferred method of communication with clients and colleagues. It’s fast, efficient and can be effective if used correctly. At a recent committee meeting, lawyers discussed their views regarding the formality of email and whether it is perceived as correspondence or a telephone call. Either way, here are some key tips to keep in mind when drafting a professional email:

  • Always begin with a personalized greeting. It’s not only polite but assures the recipient that the email was directed to them. When replying, consider starting with a reply of “thank you”. Once formality is dropped, feel free to follow suit.
  • State the purpose of your email, keep it to one purpose and be concise. Email was meant to be an efficient means of communication, so don’t bog it down with a lot of detail or multiple purposes.
  • Use exclamation points and humour sparingly, and remember: USING ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING!
  • Consider including a professional signature block with hyperlinks to your professional social media accounts and firm website.

Whether you view email as correspondence or conversation, a certain etiquette exists when using email as a method of communication. The tips above will help ensure your communication is professional, courteous, and effective.

If you have any questions on these or any other risk- or practice-related matters, do not hesitate to contact Stacey Gerrard, LIANS Counsel with the Risk and Practice Management Program, at sgerrard@lians.ca or call 902 423 1300 ext. 345.