June 2, 2014
To continue our email etiquette discussion, here are five more tips that address professional email concerns:
6. Think before you hit "reply all." Hitting reply all by accident can spread confidential information to the wrong parties. Even if it isn't sensitive information, you may end up spamming clients and colleagues, which won't be appreciated. In Gmail, you can undo sending an email. Click the gear symbol in the top right. Select "Settings" then click "Labs." Click the "Undo Send" lab then select "Enable" radio button. Save the changes then you'll be able to unsend messages.
7. Double check the recipient's email address. If you incorrectly address an email you may end up sending private information to an unknown person. If it goes to an invalid address you'll learn right away from the automatic email response. However, if the email goes to the wrong person, you may not realize for days or weeks that your contact never received the message.
8. Limit confidential information. Limit the amount of information that could fall into the wrong hands, even if you believe the email will be private. If the message is about a sensitive topic, use the correspondence to set up a phone call or meeting instead of directly relaying the information.
You can also put a disclaimer at the bottom of your emails stating that if the email reaches an unintended recipient, the recipient should delete the message immediately. However, disclaimers have limited protection and if confidential information is revealed to a third party, you're still liable for the ethical breach.
9. Never email when you're angry. Occasionally you'll receive an email from a client or another attorney that'll make you angry. Never respond right away. If you feel the need to type out a response, do so in an unaddressed draft then let it sit for a few hours. Your reputation is crucial to your livelihood so take a step away from your computer and reply when you're of a clear mind.
10. Remember your work email isn't private – it's company property. Never use your work email to talk with friends or relatives. Your work and personal emails should always be separate in order to maintain your own privacy.
As attorneys, you have a responsibility to your clients to ensure your emails are of the highest quality – professional and secure. Make sure you respond to emails in a timely manner, remain calm and collected when you reply to clients and colleagues and make sure the information is going exactly where you want it to go.