Email Dos and Don’ts Lawyers and Law Firms Need to Remember
Lawyers and law firms are not new to sending and receiving emails. However, just like any other profession, attorney services too can often get it wrong.
Sending an email to the wrong address, or not ensuring that your messages have a professional tone can hurt your law firm, so here are some email dos and don’ts every lawyer needs to follow.
Do: Make Sure You’re Sending the Email to the Right Address
It can happen to anyone. You want to send an email to John Jones, but instead, send it to Jon Jones. Or, instead of sending it to JohnJones@gmail, you send it to JohnJones@yahoo.
Of course, mistakes can happen, but this sort can cost you potential clients for your law firm. Not to mention that the recipient will think it’s some kind of an email scam, which in turn can hurt your online presence as well.
Always double-check the email address before you hit “Send” on your messages to avoid sounding like a scam.
Don’t: Send Sensitive or Confidential Information via Regular Email Services
Lawyers often handle some very sensitive and confidential information depending on their practice area about their clients and this carries with it certain dangers.
When sending business emails for your law firm, avoid sending such information via regular email services like Gmail, Outlook, or YahooMail. There is always a chance that a hacker can intercept the message using a man-in-the-middle attack, or that the client’s email or computer is already compromised.
Generally, it is better to handle this type of information in your law firm office and face-to-face with the client than online and over unsecured email.
If this is not possible, for instance, because the client is unable to visit your office (they’re out of town or something else), you should use an encrypted email service like CTemplar. Check out why every lawyer needs to encrypt their email.
Do: Use a Clear and Strong Subject Line
The email subject line is like the headline of an article. It’s often all the client needs to decide whether to open your email or to send it to the trash. Worse yet, they might even think that it’s an email scam!
As an attorney, this is far from what you want, so be sure that your subject line conveys the purpose of your email clearly to your client.
Writing it is, of course, not a simple task and it requires some careful planning.
For example, Marketo found that subject lines with 6-7 words have the best open rates (10.10% and 10.80% respectively per 100,000 emails sent), while that rate drops down to 6.60% on 8 words.
Make sure you start it with the client’s first name, instead of something like “Dear Client”. By doing this, you ensure that your email is personalized and will have a better chance of getting opened by the client.
Don’t: Send the Email Before Checking Your Grammar and Spelling
One of the tell-tale signs of email scam messages is the poor grammar that scammers are often using.
While this is not the only sign, always make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct before sending emails to potential clients. This only takes a minute or two using a spell-checker or a tool like Grammarly, but it will ensure that your emails sound and read professional, which can only be a good sign for your law firm.
Do: Get to the Point in the First Two Paragraphs
Nobody likes people who take too long to get to the point. As a lawyer, you should also practice this skill in your emails.
The client doesn’t have the time or the will to read through your long-winded paragraphs. This is why you should get straight to the point in the first two paragraphs.
Typically, your first paragraph should include a quick greeting and the client’s name and then in the second you should explain the purpose of the email.
Your emails should have more than four paragraphs consisting of 1-3 sentences and they should each have a single point.
Don’t: Spam People and Send Unsolicited Emails
Of course, this rule applies to everyone and not just the legal profession.
Yes, email marketing is becoming increasingly important for the legal profession to find potential clients, but sending unsolicited email is not the way.
It’s only a quick way to get on a spam blacklist and potentially even a lawsuit.
As a lawyer, you should know that spam can even be against the law so there’s really nothing good that can come out of this and this can only hurt your law firm.
If you haven’t been permitted to send someone an email (they haven’t subscribed to your email list or given you their email themselves), don’t email them. There are far too many email scams that pretend to be from law firms that you don’t have to add to them as well.
Unsolicited emails are also known as email scams. For example, some scammers invite victims to a website where they can steal their personal information, others promise fake services and so on.
Do: Build Your Own Email List
This isn’t so much an advice on what to write and what to not write in your emails as an attorney, but rather to avoid purchasing email lists.
The reason for this is quite simple.
People on that list are not qualified leads and therefore not potential clients.
Instead, you should strive to build your own email list from people you’ve engaged with already as they are much more likely to become your clients.
Don’t: Use All Caps in Your Emails
Using all caps in your email only makes it look unprofessional and has no place in formal communication and that goes for lawyers as well.
Avoid it anywhere in your email messages.
There’s nothing worse than an email that screams at you in CAPS. This only looks like you’re very angry and that is not the tone you want to show as a lawyer.
Do: Finish Your Email with a Strong Call to Action (CTA)
Always end your email with a clear and strong call to action (CTA), that explains to the client the next steps they need to take.
For example, if you need to schedule a meeting with your clients, you can say something like :
“We would like to schedule a meeting at our office. Let us know if you’re available next Monday at 12:30 a.m.”
Don’t: Send Personal Emails from Your Law Firm Address
This should go without saying, but maybe it’s better to repeat just in case you didn’t get the memo.
Don’t use your firm’s email address to send emails to your friends and family. Leave this for your personal address instead and don’t clutter your business email like this.
Do: Wait 24 Hours Before Sending the Email
One more rule that might be especially important for the legal profession is to wait 24 hours before sending an email.
The reason for this is that it allows you to step back and change your draft which you might have been too emotional when writing, or didn’t have all the information.
Always remember that cooler heads prevail and it’s important to look at things with a fresh eye.
Law firms need to communicate with their clients via email as much if not more than any other profession.
We hope these email dos and don’ts will help lawyers and their law firms better connect with their clients and make their services look legitimate in their eyes.
If you’re looking for a secure email service that can help both lawyers and their clients communicate without worrying about privacy or security, try CTemplar today!