Part Two of Best Email Practices for Lawyers

Second in a Five Part Series


Lest you need any more convincing that getting a better handle on email is a profoundly important objective, consider this: If you send and receive a total of 50 emails on each of the 240 work days in a year, you’re processing 12,000 messages per year. At two minutes per message on average, you’re spending 24,000 minutes – or 400 hours a year – on email. That’s an astounding 40 ten-hour days a year. (And these numbers are conservative.)

As I mentioned in Part One, this series of SuccessTips is devoted to helping you make meaningful changes in how email affects your life. I’m referencing the work of a truly outstanding approach to email management created by the folks at I recommend reading their book, The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email BEFORE It Manages You.

So here’s today’s tip: Use bullets and brief paragraphs to make your emails shorter and easier to read. In a chapter called “A Tale of Two Emails,” the author shares two typical business emails on the same topic; the first comprised of about 500 words in three paragraphs, while the second conveys the same information using bullet points in about 75 words. (Turns out both were written by the author at different times in his career; he cites them as proof that one can, indeed, learn to change one’s composition habits.)

This may, admittedly, be particularly challenging for you, as an attorney. And I’m not suggesting that every email must be shorter and use bullets. But even if you cut down your composition time by 20%, you’re saving significant time over the course of a month.

Also, as you incorporate better email behaviors, your readers will begin to do the same. And if they don’t, you can diplomatically let them know that you’re trying some new strategies to make your email time more efficient, and suggest that they give them a try, too. More on how to have that conversation in Part Three.

Read Part One 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.

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