“Best Practices” for Effective Electronic Communication

florida-communication-guideThe Florida State Bar Association has published a short guide for lawyers who use electronic means of communication–namely, all lawyers. See The Florida Bar Best Practices for Effective Electronic Communication (June 2015). While some of the guide’s suggestions sound like a mother’s advice for a teenager (“do not text in social settings”), most are helpful. Here are a few highlights:

Texting

  • Keep text messages short.
  • End texts with your name unless you are certain that you are in the recipient’s contacts list.
  • If it takes more than 2-3 text messages, call instead.
  • Unlike email, send text messages only during business hours.

Email

  • Use a detailed, descriptive subject line.
  • Don’t use ALLCAPS.
  • Use a signature block with your name and mobile phone number.
  • Do not use unnecessary graphics such as firm logos.
  • Reply promptly or send a quick note saying you will reply when you have a moment.

Social Media

  • Visit your social media accounts and profiles regularly to assure that they comply with disciplinary rules.
  • Change your password frequently.
  • “[I]f you would be ashamed to see it on a billboard, do not post it.”