What a Paralegal Should Know About Email

There’s nothing simple about using email to communication with clients and collaborators when working in the legal field. Here is some advices for legal emails.

Buy or reserve a domain name related to your professional practice that you will then use to set up your email addresses. Avoid gmail.com, hotmail.com and similar so as to reflect a professional image.

Use messaging software rather than free platforms offered on the web. Outlook and other similar tools let you save your legal emails on your computer rather than somewhere that you do not control. You will be able to further classify your files more easily.

Sort, categorize and tag your emails. Search tools can be of great help, but nothing beats a logical and well organized system.

Deactivate auto-complete address functions… you do not want a client’s file to end up in the inbox of another client with the same first name!

Consider encrypting certain documents, because clients may require this degree of confidentiality.

Do not put your email address on your professional website, to avoid receiving emails that contain attached files from an initial contact — lawyers have received complete unsolicited files. Rather use a web form to be filled out by the visitor. This will protect you from phishing attempts, because you should normally have only given out your email address to people that you already know.

Scan all documents received by email with an antivirus program. As a jurist, you may do business with a large number of organizations (banks, large companies, etc.), and these are often themselves the very ones that are the target of hackers.

Make sure that you meed regulatory requirements about privacy notices when you send emails. Such a statement is well suited to be a part of your signature block (along with your contact details) at the end of the message.

Send documents in PDF format rather than in Word format. Not only will they be “lighter” to send, but they cannot be modified.

Finally, never forget that once an email has been sent, you have lost control of it. The recipient can change it, forward it, redirect it is if it was theirs, so think before pressing “Send”!

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