At first blush, you might assume this is a post about how to save your e-mail electronically or avoid e-mail overload. Both are valid concerns, but recently I have noticed an uptick in the number of lawyers asking me: Who should be filing e-mail?
In the “good old days,” we dealt in paper – mail, then faxes. Staff opened client files and staff did the filing. Today, the bulk of communication occurs by e-mail – passing directly from lawyer to client and vice versa. Staff are out of the loop. As e-mails pile up, the question is: how do we get them out of the lawyer’s inbox into the client’s electronic file?
Inbox organizers, filing assistants, and case management software make the job easier. But who exactly pushes the button or drags the message? This isn’t a trivial question. I’ve spoken to solo practitioners who are spending 60-90 minutes a day “filing” e-mails.
Personally I am a big fan of Outlook folders, Outlook filing assistants, and archiving my e-mail using Adobe Acrobat 9. I do my own filing. For law offices with staff, who should take on this task? Should firms give staff access to lawyer inboxes? What about confidential firm messages relating to employee evaluations, finances, or the like? Maybe lawyers should file their own e-mail messages. Or perhaps forward them to staff for processing.
What does your firm do? I’d like to know. Please take a moment and Vote. I’d love to get your feedback.
I will address the pros and cons of these different approaches next week.
Copyright Beverly Michaelis 2009