Writing the perfect firm email to a potential client can set your firm up for an easy win, follow this article to learn how!
Email has become one of the most powerful means of communication, especially when you need to make sure the information is sent quickly. This applies to lawyers as well, who are basically living in their inbox.
Communicating with clients, colleagues and other institutions is an active part of the lawyers’ job and sometimes, the first email you are writing to a client determines if they are willing to accept your firm’s services or not. Follow this guide for writing the perfect first email to secure your clients.
How can lawyers write the perfect first email to a client?
Email is still the most powerful means of communication for lawyers. To make sure your messages gets read: write a meaningful subject line, keep it precise and limit legalese, mention if you use attachments, build templates, check your grammar and improve your email signature.
Pay Attention To The Subject Line
Never send an email without a meaningful subject line that gives the reader a clear idea about the body of the email. The subject should include the name of the project or case number, to make it easier for them to find it in the inbox. If you don’t include a meaningful subject, the email could go to spam or be easily lost in the sea of other emails.
Keep the subject line short and use logical keywords. It would be much easier to tell your client to search the email for “case number YYYY-123456” in case they have trouble finding it. Some people choose to write the subject in caps. Avoid doing it, as it may send the wrong message. Your clients don’t need to be greeted with what appears to be someone shouting at them when receiving your email. If you feel the need to emphasize something, simply bold the words.
Keep It Short And Precise
When it comes to the body of the email, always start with a greeting and the client’s name. Then, write a short introduction and move on to the subject of the matter. Keep the email concise and precise, as nobody wants to read long emails. Stick to the subject and if you need to draw attention to something specific, use bold or underline to emphasize certain words or sentences.
If the client has contacted you asking for opinions on a certain situation, make the email about that matter only, to show professionalism and commitment. If you want to explain something more in depth, you can add attachments or links to certain sections of the law, for further reference and mention that to the client.
When writing the closing, stick with the classic ending phrases, such as “Regards”, “Thank you” or “Best”. Make sure to let the client know they can follow up if they have any questions.
Avoid Using Excessive Legal Terms
When writing an email to a client, always think of the reader first. Avoid overusing legal terms that might be familiar to you, but your client would not understand, or if you do, make sure to briefly explain them. This way, you will make sure that you don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Especially in the legal world, you can’t afford the risk of not sending a clear message.
If the client is asking for legal advice on a subject, mention to them the necessary steps that you would take in that situation and explain the reason behind them. Make sure to have the ideas clear in your mind before writing the email, to avoid losing the logical structure of the text. You may be thinking that long and complicated phrases are a sign of professionalism, but oftentimes it only confuses your client, so make sure to steer clear of them.
Always Mention If You Add Attachments
If you must attach a document in your email, make sure you mention exactly what the attachment is and why it is necessary. Simply throwing a “See attached” at the end of the email will not do it. Briefly include a reference to the attachment when you reach the subject, such as “To keep this short, I have attached the section of the law that refers to the issue and a brief explanation.”
People often avoid opening attachments, as they can easily carry malware, so to give your client a bit more trust, make sure they understand you have deliberately put the attachment there. Rename the attachment to describe exactly what it contains, especially if adding multiple ones, to facilitate the reader’s work. It is much easier when you say “Please see Transcript X for further reference”, plus it looks more professional.
You may think that using a template might take away from the personal feeling of the email, but it is not always the case. As a lawyer, you will be getting a lot of similar requests from clients and by using templates that you can then personalize based on the client or circumstances will help you be more productive.
When you write dozens of emails every day, you risk allowing lots of mistakes to pass through, in order to save time. A well-thought template will always sound professional and will help build up your client’s trust. If you don’t feel you can write the template on your own, you can choose from a multitude of services that can help you do so, such as Chamaileon, Trust My Paper and Newsletter Creator.
Make Sure It Is Correctly Written
Nothing screams unprofessionalism more than sending an important email full of grammar mistakes and typos. Re-read the email once or twice before hitting send, to make sure nothing slipped your mind. One good way to make sure you did not miss anything is to use tools and services that specialize in proofing, such as:
Grammarly: one of the most used grammar tools, Grammarly can help identify and correct typos, grammar mistakes and suggest alternative words if you choose the premium features.
Studicus: if you don’t trust a computer, you can always ask for help from a team of professional writers, who are more than willing to satisfy all your writing needs.
Hemingway: if you are afraid you might use too many passive sentences, Hemingway helps you avoid them and write clear sentences, that anyone can understand.
Wow Grade: another service provided by professional writers, who can help proofread and edit all your texts and turn them into real works of art.
Grammar Checker: spell checker, text analysis and other available options to help you write clear and correct emails.
Improve Your Email Signature
If you want to add a touch of professionalism, always make sure to include your email signature. The signature should include more than just your name, in order to catch the reader’s eye in a positive manner. The signature should be informative, brief and should always look professional. Ideally, you should make sure the signature has all of the following elements:
- Name and title: the reader should be able to know who sends the email, what their title is and, if necessary, what firm do you work for.
- Contact information: you should always include your phone number, email address and mailing address as well.
- Firm logo: although this is optional, do it if possible, to make it look more high-quality.
- Photo: another element that can be optional, but adds a nice touch to the email, to give the reader a sense of trust. Make sure the photo looks professional.
Updated for 2021
About the Author
Diana Adjadj is an editor and professional writer with a passion for law. She is a regular writing contributor for websites such as Best Essay Education and Grab My Essay and is spending much of her time sharing her knowledge and giving professional writing and editing tips to all her readers.