Part One of Best Email Practices for Lawyers

First in a Five Part Series.


If there ever was a business-related resolution for this year worth making and keeping, a top candidate would be to get control of your email.

These next five SuccessTips will present highlights from a state of the art approach to email management called Get Control™. (The Get Control training programs have been hailed as transformative by small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.)

Their approach to email involves several key concepts including reducing the amount of email you send (and thus the amount you receive), being more concise, and communicating your expectations to those with whom you most frequently share email.

This first Tip focuses on using simple but powerful subject lines. Start each subject with a single word that lets the reader know the purpose of your email. The Get Control program recommends these five:

  • Action: (an instruction or assignment you’re giving)
  • Request: (something you’re asking the recipient to get back to you on)
  • Info: (information you need to convey but which does not require an action from the recipient)
  • Confirmed: (letting someone know you understand their request)
  • Delivery: (when you’re providing a deliverable someone else requested of you)

Here are some samples.

  • Action: Review Smith deposition by Jan 12 and list page/line for all references to FL condo
  • Request: Need your opinion on whether to strike 3rd paragraph of motion to compel in Glover
  • Info: PDFs of all Cantelli medical records we have to date
  • Confirmed: Will attend meeting re: software upgrade on Jan 7
  • Delivery: McNulty Medicare app filed this morning, 10:30

Notice how much content can be conveyed in the subject line alone.  In fact, you may find that you can start communicating some things with just the subject line.

In Part Three of this series, I’ll describe how you can comfortably discuss your new email approach with your colleagues.  For now, you can just start using this subject line convention without drawing attention to it, or you can write a simple email explaining what you’re doing and send it to your most frequent email senders/recipients.

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.

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