Telephone

You really don’t need a landline any more. Get a good cellphone with a good service provider. While Android phones apparently work, you probably should get an iPhone. Everyone else has and it works great with your iPad.

Set up voicemail, but ask callers not to leave a voicemail unless it is absolutely necessary. Suggest that they send you an email (preferred) or text message instead of leaving a voicemail message. I promise on my voicemail to return a voicemail within 24 hours; I promise to return emails and text messages immediately. As a result, I (thankfully) get few voicemail messages.

Do you need a virtual receptionist like Ruby.com or the like? Maybe Some lawyers swear by them. They certainly sound professional when they answer. But these “receptionists” are expensive. And, although the person in Seattle who answers the phone can pronounce your name correctly, he can’t do much else. I say not worth it.

Video Conferencing

Use MS Teams or Zoom for all videoconferences. Participants can share screens and recored conferences. I personally prefer MS Teams because it can also serve as your communication hub for collaborating.

In the wake of COVID-19, everyone learned how to use these services so you won’t be videochatting alone.

MS Teams: https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

Zoom: https://zoom.us/

Email

Provider

Use a well-known, professional email provider like MS Outlook 365 or Gmail. Don’t use AOL; you’ll look like an idiot. Also, don’t ever try to run your own email server in-house. You’re a lawyer, not an IT guy.

Email Setup

You need to set up your email properly for two reasons: (1) so that recipients can see your full name, and (2) so that a proper signature block appears at the bottom of every message you send (both originals and replies).

As to your name, your email recipients need to see “Jane Doe” in their “From” line rather than “jdo483-r4@gmail.com.”

As to your signature block, you must include, at a minimum: (1) your name, (2) your mobile telephone number, and (3) your email address. Why? So when someone driving a car gets an email from you, he can simply touch the hyperlinked phone number and call you. Don’t make him write you back; he’ll hit a tree. Finally, don’t include any pictures or logos in your signature block; those JPEG files are annoying to the recipient. Here’s an example:

Dane S. Ciolino
dane@daneciolino.com
(504) 975-3263

Email Correspondence

Keep emails short. No more than a paragraph or two (if you must). If it is going to be longer than that, do a memo or letter instead and send it as a PDF attachment.

Be very mindful about subject lines. Always use descriptive subject lines, including the name of the relevant client. Change the subject line when switching to a new topic; that avoids long email chains. Obsessing over the content of subject lines now will make it easier for you to find emails later (because only subject lines turn up in search results).