In our fast-paced world, it seems like such availability is expected. Certainly, a partner at a BigLaw firm apparently thinks associates should, sorta. You can read about it on ABA Journal’s Law News Now and Above the Law. In a nutshell, a partner asked an associate to send a fax to a client before the latter left the office, but junior forgot to check his emails and never got the word.
My question to that partner is, “have you ever heard of the telephone?” If it was that important, why didn’t you pick up the damn phone and make sure it got done. Also, I don’t know about this guy, but I know I have failed to receive emails sent (or received them hours later – really) and others have not gotten some that I’ve sent.
But the issue is, do we really have to live our lives by the Blackberry or iPhone? Although in an earlier post I endorsed Dan Hull’s 12 Rules of client service, including “Be there for clients – 24/7,” I’m having second thoughts on the 24/7 part. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting tired of technology running my life.
Here’s a couple of options (at least when it comes to clients):
- Set a time that you will read and respond to emails (maybe that research project shouldn’t be interrupted willy-nilly); and
- Tell clients that you will be checking and responding to emails at certain times during the day, but they should not hesitate to call if something is urgent.
Associates in BigLaw, you’re on your own when it comes to firm emails.
There! I feel better, but I have to go. It’s approaching the hour, and I need to check my Blackberry.