Electronic mailing lists, web fora, message boards, discussion groups, and bulletin boards have been part of lawyer’s cyber-lives for ages, but that doesn’t stop lawyers from sending off messages which never should’ve been sent. Sure, everyone slips once in a while, sending a very personal message intended for only one recipient to an entire list, but those mis-sends are vastly outnumbered by the clearly inappropriate and frankly stupid posts made even by respected lawyers. You’d think they’d know better, particularly after all these years, but they don’t. Let’s explore some of the posts which should never be made to a mailing list:
- My friend Joe Lawyer would like to join this list. Please subscribe Joe Lawyer, JoeLawer@lawyer.com to the list.
- Unsubscribe me.
- Please switch me to the digest version.
- How do I reply to a message?
- I’ve changed my e-mail address. (Usually forwarded to everyone in the sender’s address book, the names and e-mail addresses of every contact are revealed to an entire listserve.)
- My e-mail address is JaneAttorney@gmail.com. I’d like to receive my listserve mail at JaneLawyer@rocketmail.com.
- I’ve got a divorce trial tomorrow at 9 a.m. before Judge Nash in Chippewa Falls. Is he really the jerk everyone says he is?
- If you’re looking for a lawyer who does research and writing, hire me. (This is right up there with “I’m Sasha, and I’m lonely tonight. Wanna chat or meet me?”
- I know that this list prohibits chain letters, jokes and forwards, but I’ve just got to pass this one on, because it’s so funny. And I really need to warn everyone that the federal government is going to start taxing everyone on e-mail.
Most mailing lists deliver a welcome message to new subscribers, revealing the list’s rules and FAQ, suggesting the topics which are and aren’t acceptable to the list and setting forth the procedures for subscribing, unsubscribing and changing subscriber settings. And nearly every mailing list now has a click-through, either as part of the header or at the bottom of every message, enabling subscribers to easily change subscription options. Since rules are part and parcel of a lawyer’s business, you’d think they’d comprehend the most basic rules of any listserve. But they don’t.