Managing emails for lawyers and professionals in most industries is a constant battle. In fact, the average professional spends 28 percent of work day reading and responding to emails, according to McKinsey. A lawyer should pay close attention to their inbox as they often receive lucrative business and business information. However, they’re also overloaded with industry updates, bar newsletters, and civic engagement emails.
For a pro who bills by the hour, sifting through hundreds of emails is not only time consuming, but unprofitable. Email can also be a distraction and prevent effective time management.
Here are some practical tips for handling email for lawyers.
Take advantage of email management features and shortcuts
Use filters to keep inboxes organized
Schedule e-mail correspondence
Switch internal communication to other platforms
Get rid of the clutter
Unsubscribe from various emails
Disable social media notifications
Adopt legal technology solutions
1. Take advantage of email management features and shortcuts
Email platforms have tons of features and shortcuts to make work more efficient and improve email handling for lawyers. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to learn about them and use them to the fullest.
For example, Gmail has a feature that lets you turn off group chats and prevent them from appearing at the top of the inbox every time someone contributes. Gmail also offers task management and reporting tools to maximize efficiency.
2. Use filters to keep inboxes organized
Lawyers’ inboxes are cluttered with questions and correspondence from non-clients. For example, law firms may have an inefficient onboarding process that results in new team members asking questions of anyone available, including lawyers.
The best way to solve this problem is for law firms to have rules in place to ensure that emails are sent to the correct recipients – in the onboarding example, that would be the onboarding team. . Inboxes can also be sorted using separate folders and filters, such as customers, bar associations, etc. to make it easier to identify priority emails.
3. Schedule e-mail correspondence
Email is a tempting distraction for lawyers. While waiting for an important email response for a case, a lawyer may compulsively check emails to see if they have been received. This leaves them open to other distractions, like the industry newsletter with a provocative subject line. Before they knew it, hours had passed and most of it was spent scrolling through the inbox.
Lawyers should designate a few times during the day to check the inbox and respond to emails. These times can be first thing in the morning, before or after lunch, or before leaving for the day. Timing doesn’t matter as much as keeping the schedule consistent and sticking to the rule of only checking emails during those scheduled times.
4. Prioritize emails
Prioritizing emails is an easy way to deal with an overflowing inbox. Lawyers should divide emails into sections for emails that need follow-up, emails that can wait, and emails that need to be archived.
Follow-up emails are emails that require timely responses, like emails from customers. These are the most important emails in an inbox and should be given priority. Emails that can wait might include emails that require additional work or research before responding, such as internal emails from management teams. Email archives should only contain completed emails that do not require further communication, but may require future reference.
5. Switch internal communication to other platforms
Inboxes can be cluttered with internal communications, which is not ideal for anyone in the company. If possible, law firms should switch internal communications from email to other communication tools, such as chat tools or document review software.
This not only allows inboxes to focus on crucial correspondence with clients or businesses, but also ensures that the law firm has streamlined communication to keep everyone on the same page.
6. Eliminate clutter
Most people, not just lawyers, are afraid to hit the âdeleteâ button. Everyone convinces themselves that they will need this email in the future and need to be saved, but it just leads to an overcrowded inbox that mixes important emails with spam on the internet. .
Like everyone else, lawyers have unattended emails in their inbox for months, if not years. In all likelihood, the sender forgot the email, but the recipient is keeping it “just in case”.
The practical choice for lawyers is to sort out the inbox and delete any email that has been lying around for ages, all with the intention of replying or following up. one day. All undecided emails can go to the archive, so they’re there if needed, but don’t take up space in the inbox.
7. Unsubscribe from various emails
Lawyers also receive spam. If left unchecked, junk mail may overtake an inbox with irrelevant promotions. Lawyers may subscribe to a mailing list on purpose and then no longer need the information, or accidentally while looking for information in a hurry.
Ideally, lawyers will only subscribe to mailing lists from which they wish to receive information. It doesn’t always happen that way, however, so lawyers should schedule time each month or every few months to identify emails that are not open and click the “unsubscribe” button.
8. Disable social media email notifications
Social media is a distraction in itself, especially with email notifications. Inboxes can become overloaded with social media notifications for every like, comment, or share, causing lawyers not only to check their inboxes, but also to log into social media accounts.
None of these notifications are material to a lawyer’s working day. Many law firms have social media teams, but if they don’t, it’s more effective to schedule time throughout the day or week for social media engagement and leave the rest of the day. time focused on priority emails.
Lawyers should log into every social media account and turn off email notifications, as well as any other platform that has app email notifications. It could rid an inbox of thousands of emails every month.
9. Adopt legal technological solutions
Law may be a traditional industry, but legal technology options have incredible benefits for streamlining efficiency and maximizing productivity for law firms, including email.
Several tools are available to synchronize with emails and facilitate inbox management, such as solutions that integrate with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and MailChimp to synchronize emails, view contact information, and create stain.
Simplify email management for lawyers
Email can be a significant distraction and a waste of time for lawyers and law firms, but there are many technological tools available to help you. PracticePanther helps lawyers stay on track with automation tools and relevant application integrations to prioritize client emails, create new contacts, and manage tasks to keep your practice organized.