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The Top 5 – Working with Work E-mail

Before you hit send, take a breath and ask yourself the following:

  1. Could this be published in a newspaper? – Sure, there’s nothing criminal in your message—but would you be embarrassed if it were made public? Consider how the staff at Enron probably felt in 2001 when 92% of their emails were published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2001.
  2. To whom am I responding? – When you receive a group email it’s quick and easy to just click ‘Reply All.’ But during the course of a conversation other addresses could have been added or removed… and don’t forget there may be blind copied recipients that you don’t even know about.
  3. Did I proofread? Attention to detail is important. Don’t throw away your good professional image on a careless typo.
  4. Is the content better suited for a letter, phone call or in-person conversation? Email’s  convenient, but not all information is best delivered electronically.
  5. Did I reveal too much? Be wary of including sensitive information—social security numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal information—that could be used by identity thieves.

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Young Lawyers Division

The ISBA Young Lawyers Division serves as a resource for young lawyers practicing in Illinois to develop, enhance, and foster a balanced professional life. It consists of all ISBA members under age 37 and members admitted to practice under 7 years.

+ visit the ISBA YLD homepage