Yes, I know. The title of this post is a bit out of character for me but I had to get your attention!
I’ve been administering my e-mail for going on 9 years. There is a reason why I tell peeps, clients and office managers to remove e-mail from as many of their business processes as possible.
First, e-mail is not secure. Is it likely that someone is intercepting your e-mails, no. Is it possible, yes. For lawyers and legal stuff, that simply isn’t acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable for any business (not just law). FYI, if you are openly e-mailing your client information as a spreadsheet to all your team members, chances are it is going to be shared with unintended parties.
In fact, I recall a case from my brick and mortar days where an employer tried to enforce a non-compete against one of their main salespeeps. Problem was, the employer did not treat their customer list as a highly confidential document, so the court didn’t either. Salespeep won.
Second, e-mail is a time sucking black hole and the longer you use it, the bigger the hole! It only stands to reason, with more time comes more use. The more messages you receive, the more time you need to go through them. Of course, you need to multiply this time by the number of e-mail addresses you own and use.
Third, e-mail is a poor conductor of information. It was never meant to become the main process by which businesses all over the world communicate. It is unreliable, at best. Think about it – there’s no way to confirm if an e-mail has been received or read unless you use a third party service such as N-Krypt (which I have tested and think is a good option for those trying to easily secure their e-mail).
By the way, assuming an e-mail was received is never a good idea. When in doubt – pick up the phone and call the intended recipient.
Last, e-mail is a difficult medium to store and share, especially if you use Outlook. Outlook saves all information in the pst file of each user. That means if you need to work in tandem with an assistant or otherwise, no dice. You’d have to forward messages or provide your login credentials. The first creates more e-mails and the second should NEVER be done as any login credentials should always remain private.
So, after years of use, I can only conclude and share with you that e-mail administration sucks and you need to put processes and systems in place to manage e-mail, or it will get out of hand and negatively affect you and your business.
Here’s a few resources regarding e-mail:
Words of Wisdom for Filing Client E-Mail from the Oregon Law Practice Management blog
The Lawyers Guide To Microsoft Outlook 2007 by Ben Schorr
By yours truly:
D-A-F-T Your Way To Orgnaized! (in case you missed the link above)
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