Train your staff, and even your outside firms, on effective e-mail habits

Fast Co., July/August 2007 at 46, reports that Capital One has put thousands of its staff through a workshop that teaches how to improve their email practices. “Capital One estimates that it saves the equivalent of 11 workdays per employee per year thanks to the program.” If a law department pays its attorneys on average $200,000 per year that is very roughly $1,000 per workday. If that Capital One estimate applies, at $11,000 per lawyer per year, a 10-lawyer department would save $110,000 a year by more efficient e-mail practices.

The two examples given in the column are simple for law departments to implement. Clearer subject lines help recipients understand more quickly why they have received an e-mail and make it easier to search for messages. The second trick is to sculpt the text of the message: Use bullet points as well as underlining, bolding or color to emphasize key points.

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