Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

What Your Email Address Says About Your Law Practice

When you see another lawyer's email address, do you judge them on it? If not, you might start after reading this.

Apparently, some lawyers believe that the @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @aol.com accounts should be kept personal, and that a lawyer's email address should always be an @your-law-firm-name-here.com type address. However, this belief isn't always correct, and could lead many lawyers down a primrose path of being hacked for using a garbage email client that lacks adequate security.

Fortunately, thanks to the modern times we live in, email addresses can be quickly and easily changed. Below you'll find a few tips on whether you need to be shopping for a new email.

Hotmail Isn't Hot

Anyone telling you not to judge someone still using a Hotmail account (or other ancient email service) in an un-ironic, or professional capacity is wrong. If you're using Hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo, as your lawyer email account, stop. People are (and should be) judging you for it. An ancient email account just screams that you are out of touch with today's tech.

What About Gmail?

For many solo and small firm practitioners, Gmail has become the gold standard. There's a je ne sais quoi quality to Gmail that lets professionals get away with using a professional sounding Gmail account (think PerryMasonEsq@gmail.com rather than hotstufflawyer27for_ev_er@gmail.com), perhaps stemming from the initial exclusivity of the invite-only phase of its existence.

Even if your email address isn't an @gmail.com one, many small firms choose to host their @their-law-firm-name-here.com email through Gmail. In case you didn't know, that is an option that only costs $5 per month per user (and up until rather recently, it used to be free even). But be forewarned, if you use an @gmail.com account, be prepared for clients to expect you to read and respond to emails at all hours, as there's an expectation that the line between professional and personal is bit more blurred.

Your Own Domain May Not Be Secure, Safe, or Seaworthy

If you're reading this thinking you're ahead of the pack because you have the @your-law-firm-name-here.com email address, you might be surprised to learn that your email host might actually be, or might as well be, a steaming hot pile of garbage that doesn't float.

If you host your website and email through the same service, you're more likely to have both go down if one or the other does, or if your host suffers an outage, catastrophe, or hack. The idea behind having different hosts for email and your website is simple, if the ship goes down, you don't want to lose both. The same goes for an email hack. If you, or your admin's email, get hacked, hackers could have access to the entire website.

If you're seeking to land tech clients, or maybe just tech savvy clients, you may want to consider subtly pointing out that you have a secure email host as a way to show that your firm understands what redundancies are important in tech (but be subtle about it because it really isn't that impressive).

ProTip: Don't put your email address in your email signature block. Seriously folks, think about it ... if someone is seeing that signature block, they received the email and your email address is listed above the subject line.

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