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Best Communication Practices for 2020’s Summer Hires: Best Practices for Emails
by Mary Crane

A law firm partner recently told me that he’s been fascinated by the impact social distancing has had on email usage—virtually all communications with internal and external clients now occur via phone calls and Zoom, he said, with email used only to coordinate schedules.

When you need to ask a relatively simple question or deliver a message quickly, use email. If you need to talk through some challenges that you have experienced with an assignment, send the assigning lawyer a brief email asking if he or she has a few moments to discuss the project.  When you need a quick reply, consider placing a phone call.

Use email to send completed assignments or a requested document or when you need to maintain a written record of some exchange.

Don’t forget that any email you send may last forever. Email content and language should always be business appropriate.

Keep email messages short, succinct and to the point.

A closing thought about 2020 summer stress

The covid-19 pandemic and related economic upheaval has created a more stressful work environment for everyone. Throughout the summer, lawyers, recruiters and colleagues may seem slightly on edge. Give them some leeway.

Know that you can minimize your own stress by taking control of the things that you actually can control, including:

  • Establishing a daily routine;
  • Making conscious and thoughtful eating and drinking decisions;
  • Engaging in some form of daily exercise;
  • Practicing mindfulness at specific times throughout the day; and
  • Connecting consciously with others.

If time permits, use your summer experience to conduct informational interviews with lawyers who entered the profession during the 2008 financial crisis. They will have valuable insights as to how students can successfully launch careers during a crisis and you’ll also make a new contact.