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Are You Guilty of These Five Email Faux Pas?

Law Firm OperationsMatter ManagementTimekeeping & Billing
Woman typing on a laptop with a mobile phone on the desk
 
With email being a major form of communication in most practices, it’s now more important than ever that you look for ways to make email work for your firm.
 

Email is one of the most popular forms of communication in modern law firms. According to the American Bar Association’s 2019 Legal Technology Survey Report, 91% of respondents used email to communicate with clients. Despite its prevalence, many attorneys aren’t using the right systems or tools to efficiently manage the high volumes of emails they receive on a daily basis. Here are five email faux pas to avoid so you can keep your firm running efficiently.

1. Using Email for Task Management

Too many legal professionals use email for task management. Attorneys wind up with threads including hundreds of emails with various parties and no good way to track the status and deadlines of these projects. A good way to get task management out of your inbox is to adopt a project management tool (ideally one that is part of your practice management application) that integrates with email and allows you to convert messages to tasks with just a few clicks.

2. Relying on Auto Suggest

How many times have you gone to send an email, but at the last minute realized the wrong person’s name in the recipient line? How many times have you actually sent an email to the wrong person? Making a simple mistake like this could be catastrophic if your firm sends confidential documents to the wrong person. There are now matter management tools with deep email integrations which help to only serve up matter-related contacts, increasing efficiency and reducing errors.

Ever have panic rush over you when you realize you sent an email to the wrong recipient? Zola Suite’s revolutionary “Smart Suggest” system helps you to avoid such errors by suggesting only relevant contacts when composing a new message.

3. Folder Pile Up

As a default organizational system, many attorneys create an individual email folder for each matter. The end result is hundreds, if not thousands, of folders in your inbox. It makes your email clunky, disorganized, and can sometimes double the amount of time you sift through folders until you find what you’re looking for. As an alternative, look for a matter management system that allows you to easily file emails away under each matter.

4. Losing Track of Your Time

Most email clients don’t have built-in timers that allow you to track time, in real-time, forcing attorneys to try to keep track on separate spreadsheets (or the dreaded post-it note) or spend time at the end of each week trying to create corresponding time entries for email work. Sure, you can try and guesstimate how many minutes or hours you spend browsing your emails, but it’s very easy to lose track of time. A lack of tools leads to a loss of revenue. There is no shortage of timekeeping tools for law firms. Find one that works seamlessly with your email, so tracking time isn’t an extra burden.

5. The CC/BCC Conundrum

Not having the ability to easily share matter-related emails with colleagues who are assisting on a matter is a major inconvenience. The hassle of remembering to CC your colleagues on an email chain or to hit “reply all” adds an additional step to everything you do. While nearly all matter management applications tout the ability to associate an email with a matter, many require users to forward all messages to a separate email address in order for it to be associated with a matter. Look for solutions that don’t require this unwieldy workaround.

With email being a major form of communication in most practices, it is now more important than ever that you look for ways to make email work for your firm. Invest in comprehensive solutions that address these email blunders and ultimately save your firm time, money and frustration.

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