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How do you end your emails? Do you do it the same way for adversaries, clients, colleagues, and prospects?
For most attorneys, it can seem overly insincere to end a scathing letter, or any correspondence, with "Very truly yours," "Warmly," or even "Regards" (of any kind -- best, warm, cold, or otherwise).
Additionally, while thanking a potential client for their consideration is an appropriate ending, it doesn't really work for adversaries (unless you need to grease the wheels of adversarial justice). Basically, there's no one sign-off that will work for every scenario, so it's best to have a handy list, which you can find below.
The Best Lawyerly Email Sign-Offs
There are quite a few opinions on what makes the best lawyerly (professional) email sign-offs. Generally, when sending professional correspondence, you want to maintain cordiality among your professional adversaries. As such, using a sign-offs like Cordially, or Respectfully, can go a long way.
When emailing with clients, potential clients, or colleagues, the above can feel overly formal, or maybe just too curt, depending on the client. For those clients, a simple Sincerely, or Take Care, will do. For those clients that seem to appreciate and want the formality, you can use the somewhat anachronistic sign-off of: At your service.
If you find yourself getting snarky, smart, or cold, in the sign-off you select, you might want to just scale it back and simply use the word "Signed" above your signature block.
What's in Your Signature Block?
In addition to using a lawyerly sign-off, most every lawyer should have a standardized email signature block that includes their name and basic contact information, such as email, office phone number, and office address. Note that your signature block should not including your sign-off. That should be specially tailored based on the email, as should the decision on whether to sign your full name, or just your first. Most attorneys want to be on a first name basis with clients, so above your signature block, clients should find your sign-off and your first name only.
Taking that a step further, a signature block should not be "off-brand," and should also probably identify the name of the lawyer's firm, and their position. If your firm has a logo and the technical capabilities, including the firm logo in signature blocks can present a more professional looking signature block. And for those attorneys that loathe having personal privacy, including a cell phone number can easily eliminate what boundaries you may have had.
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