Part Four of Best Email Practices for Lawyers

Fourth in a Five Part Series


We’re returning in this SuccessTip to the subject of subject lines — specifically, the use of 3-letter acronyms at the end of the subject line that saves reading time and reduces email ping-pong.

EOM = End of Message (when the entire content of your communication is contained within the subject field)
NRN = No Reply Needed (or its close cousin, NTN – No Thanks Needed)

What’s the rationale, the value, of using these acronyms?

Depending on how your recipients’ preview pane is set up, they don’t have to open the message in a new window when they see EOM. This is especially helpful when reading email on a mobile device.

The easy-to-miss point here is that all the times when you eye moves back and forth between subject line and preview pane or message window add up to minutes (and eventually hours) of time.

And how about all of those “Thanks” emails? These well-meaning, innocuous emails fill your in-box, distract you when they come in, and, cumulatively, take up addition minutes and hours of your time.

Though it may, at first, seem unsociable to let people know they don’t need to reply or thank you, you’ll both get used to it.  And you both appreciate the benefits of the streamlined communication.

In the previous SuccessTip, I suggested identifying and communicating with your top five email offenders.

This week,

  1. identify the people with whom you email the most
  2. send them a note about your use of these acronyms
  3. suggest they start experimenting with them too.  (Alternatively, you can forward them this email series and just start using its recommendations.)

This is a perfect application of the 80/20 rule: that is, probably 80% or more of your email comes from 20% or fewer of all the emailers in your life.

So, combining this acronym suffix strategy with the keyword prefix strategy from Part One of this series, here are some model subject lines:

CONFIRMED: Received transcript of Smith depo of 11.2.11 EOM NRN

ACTION: Please bring your January pre-bills to our meeting tomorrow morning EOM

INFO: Susan will cover your 3pm hearing Wednesday. See details NRN

Remember, email takes up at least 40 ten-hour days of your year. So anything you can do to make your email time more efficient and effective for yourself and your colleagues is a wise investment.

Read Part One of Best Email Practices for Lawyers.
Read Part Two of Best Email Practices for Lawyers.
Read Part Three of Best Email Practices for Lawyers.

About the Author

Bill Jawitz, Law Firm Coach and Consultant

Bill Jawitz has been coaching lawyers to become more profitable and enjoy a higher quality of life since 2002.

He can be reached at or at 203.806.1300.

I maintain a deep library of hundreds of best-of-breed checklists, templates, guides, and white papers on every aspect of managing a legal practice and law firm, from lawyer marketing plans, to hiring process checklists, to alternative fee engagement letters.

If you need a quick resource, call me. I’ll send you what I have on the topic free of charge with no strings.

Call for a free consultation (203) 806-1300

Want to learn more?

Have a question? Looking for a Just-In-Time Resource?

Contact Bill Now