Friday, May 9, 2014
You must all realize that we are in a service business. In this day and age of faxes, emails, internet, etc. clients expect you to be accessible 24\7. Of course, that is something of an exaggeration — but not much. . . . Unless you have very good reason not to (for example when you are asleep, in court or in a tunnel), you should be checking your emails every hour. One of the last things you should do before you retire for the night is to check your email. That is why we give you blackberries.
- Bill Urquhart (Quinn Emanuel)
A recent Mother Jones article reminded me of the infamous e-mail from law firm partner Bill Urquhart, a portion of which is quoted above. While Mr. Urquhart’s e-mail may have been a bit blunt, I think it captures the e-mail checking expectations at many of the top law firms.
My e-mail checking habits were formed at two large law firms and those habits have carried over into my current position as a professor. E-mail checking is reflexive for me. I don’t really want to know how many times a day I check my e-mail, but I would bet it is over 25x on most days.
As the Mother Jones article and the studies it cites suggest, it seems that productivity could be increased and stress could be reduced through a more healthy relationship with e-mail. Personally, I’d love to find that perfect balance where I am appropriately accessible and responsive, but also have blocks of time to focus on larger projects.
What do our readers think? How often should lawyers check (and respond to) their e-mail? Professors?