Want a quick way to save some money on your legal fees in your separation?
Don’t say in 6 emails what can be said in 1.
Let me explain.
I email my client, Josephine, about correspondence I have received from her ex or his lawyer. I then move on to my next meeting or task. Within 5 minutes, a reply from Josephine bings into my inbox with some of her immediate thoughts on what she has received.
5 minutes later, she has further thoughts on the correspondence and emails me again to relay those.
2 minutes later, another thought and another email.
20 minutes later, another thought and another email…
…and so it goes on until I return to my desk from my meeting to find 6 emails from Josephine to work my way through.
I call these “stream of consciousness” emails. Every time a thought comes to Josephine about the subject matter at issue, she captures it in an email so that ultimately, the email chain represents a stream of her thinking and thought processes about the particular issue. Often, by the end of the chain of emails, her thinking may have changed from what it started out being at the first email.
Sound familiar? There's a high chance you use email similarly or have been the recipient of such stream of consciousness emails. Josephine is not alone in operating this way. I have had numerous clients do this and, in speaking with other family lawyers, I understand they do too.
If you catch yourself doing this, I suggest you save your lawyer some time and, therefore, save you some money by sending just the one email. Slow down and capture your thoughts elsewhere as they come to you, rather than in an individual email. Perhaps open a draft email and make a note of them in there throughout the day or make a note in your phone or your diary. Then, after several hours, go back through your notes, reflect on them to identify what is still relevant and represents where your thinking now is at and send the one email that captures that.
Perhaps your quick fire, stream of emails are due to the conditioning we all have been subjected to that says we have to respond to messages and emails instantly. You don’t have to. I am not suggesting you take days to respond, just that you don’t need to feel a pressure to respond straight away. Responding with immediacy then means you likely miss something or think of something else later that you need to email again. Your lawyer is unlikely to be sitting, anxiously awaiting your response to their email. He or she has likely moved on to a meeting or another task. If something were needed from you urgently, your lawyer would pick up the phone. So, do yourself (and your brain) a favour and slow down and take the time to note down your thoughts and then compile them into your one email.
Boom! Instant legal costs savings and, most importantly, this approach allows you to slow down and achieve real clarity in your thinking on the issue at hand.
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