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The Impersonal Nature of Email

I recently posted The Etiquette of Email.  As a follow-up, Peter at the Solo In Chicago blog provides great insight into the appropriate use of email:

I'm amazed at the vitriol I see written via e-mail particularly from clients and on lawyer list serves. I really think that the impersonal nature of e-mail (typing on some electronic device by yourself) really brings out the worst in people. My personal policy is absolutely if there needs to confrontation or criticism, do it in person or over the phone. Time and again I see a tone of communication from people that they would NEVER express verbally but when it's not really expressed to a person but rather just typed into a box there's inappropriate anger.

I couldn’t agree with Peter more.  Email is a great way to transmit information.  It is a terrible communication device.  If anything serious is happening in a case, a phone call is mandatory.  A follow-up email is fine. 


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