As a practicing attorney, email management is important to master lest you become overwhelmed. Worldwide, about two billion people send up to 294 billion emails daily. That’s quite a lot, to say the least. On average, a practicing attorney will spend at least three hours daily either writing or reading emails. This can kill an attorney’s productivity if measures are not taken to handle emails efficiently. Here are a few tips on email management for attorneys that may make a difference in your practice.

Strive to send clear, concise, and actionable emails that will drive the point home instantly. A long email increases the chance that your communication will go unread or prompt the recipient to send another asking for clarification. A well written email should take at most three minutes to read and understand.

Sending less email means receiving less email. On average,  a person gets three responses for every five emails that are sent. Statistically, if  you eliminate one out of five emails that you would have sent, then you will have a 10% reduction in incoming emails.

Another primary objective should be to filter or auto-sort low value emails into a folder where you can view them later, and convert the remaining messages into tasks.  This way, you will be able to effectively manage your emails as they trickle in, and focus only on the items that are important. Email discipline requires an attorney to stay organized. You need to have a manageable folder structure in place for email messages and tasks.

Another effective way of managing emails is by limiting the scope of the message to the topic identified in the subject line. Attorneys who start their emails by identifying the subject matter have fewer problems composing the main body concisely and effectively.

Email management is more effective if the other people you are communicating with are onboard, as well. If fully implemented, these tips can help you improve your email management, and in turn improve your practice.

by Kimberly Hanlon

Kimberly Hanlon
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Kimberly Hanlon

Attorney at Law at Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC
Kimberly Hanlon is an estate planning and small business law attorney in the Twin Cities. She is also a co-owner of MoreLaw Minneapolis, the executive suite exclusively for attorneys in downtown Minneapolis.
Kimberly Hanlon
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