One of the first tips I give to our new paralegals is to remember that when they send an email or a letter, they may know who it is going to, but they don’t know who might read it.

They don’t know, for example, that it might not be sent to someone else in error.

Or that colleagues might read it.

Or that one day it might end up being read out in court.

So before you send the communication, think how you might feel if a Judge was looking over your shoulder and reading your words.  Would you be proud or embarrassed?

If in doubt, if you think that perhaps you’ve been too harsh (or not harsh enough) or that your letter could be seen as unprofessional (we all lose our temper from time to time) it’s always best to get someone else to read it over.  Or put it to one side and come back to it later.

As a good example of the benefits of properly proof reading and sense checking your communications before you send them out (or getting someone else to do it for you) I have today been reading the reports on the debacle that is the Post Office Scandal. In amongst all the truly shocking things that were going on behind the scenes (including supposedly “professional” people encouraging colleagues to be duplicitous), was an email from a senior criminal lawyer where he stated that a particular course of action would lead to copulation!

Obviously he didn’t really mean that the action in question was going to lead to sexual activity, but it could easily have been interpreted as meaning “we’re fu@ked” which, of course could be much more accurate than he had realised.

It now turns out that he meant “capitulation” (don’t you just love auto correct!) but the fact remains that whilst he was drafting an internal email, it has now been reported on far and wide in the inquiry. I bet he thought he couldn’t end up looking any worse than he already did!!!

Perhaps if they’d had all of their emails checked (and not just for typos and spelling mistakes) they wouldn’t be in this situation, but it’s still a salient lesson.  Even communications that you might assume are privileged could end up being made public.

And if you fancy a laugh, DM me and I’ll tell you what Pixabay offered me as suitable pictures for this blog!

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  We never capitulate.