Students frequently believe that because email is email, they can draft a business email informally in a legal environment. This is not true. Students should use a business email format. Writing an email for a law firm, governmental office, or public interest law setting requires good and structured writing. So, write only tight and intelligent business emails for the law office. And, proofread them first before hitting the Send button.
Here are key tips for business email writing. If your email will be short and addresses two to three points, draft a topic sentence introducing each issue, and then discuss each issue separately and clearly. And, if your email will be longer and addresses three or more subjects, consider drafting a brief introduction, and creating short paragraphs framed around each of the issues.
Below is a sample of business email writing. I, as a professor, wrote this email to my class, addressing three issues, all in our paragraph:
I write here about our chat room session tomorrow night concerning course evaluations, presentations, and edits to the motion to suppress. First, you will complete evaluations from 7:15 to 7:30. Check your mailboxes for receipt, and then, submit the completed evaluations, as indicated. Evaluations are important to the program and to the professors, so please do complete them. Second, we will next turn to the presentations on the Michael Jackson child molestation case and O.J. Simpson robbery case. Please note that you must submit at least one question or comment to a presenter on the topic. And third, please read the (edited) Opposition to Motion to Suppress Evidence. It is attached here, and in Course Resources. Please make at least one comment regarding the effectiveness of a particular change, noting how the change fulfilled a Conclusion, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion (CRAC) requirement.
See you tomorrow night in the chat room,
Here is a business email sample that I drafted to students in my class, having a brief introduction and paragraphs for the separate issues:
I am writing regarding our on-line chat session tomorrow night, and particularly the on-line assignment about abortion, the Academy of Pediatrics’ case, and midterm grades. We will start class at 7:15 p.m.
There are two parts to this on-line assignment concerning abortion. First, the presenters will present on and students will chat about the restrictions on abortions. And second, students should read Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren (1997) 16 Cal.4th 307 regarding whether parents must consent to a minor’s abortion. The California Supreme Court held that no consent was necessary. Part of the class will draft a power-packed paragraph, supporting consent; another part will draft one arguing that there should be no consent; and, a third part will summarize the court’s decision. Using the arguments in the Academy of Pediatrics’ case, students with last names from A through E will argue there should be parental consent to abortion; those with last names beginning with F through L will argue that there should be no parental consent required; and, those with last name initials starting with M and ending in Z, should summarize the court’s reasoning concluding that no consent is required.
Regarding grades, I have emailed you all midterm papers that I have received and graded, along with the rubrics. I plan to discuss the midterm in class when we are physically together next–on May 22nd. Because there are a few papers still outstanding, I am not posting my “Take-Aways” at this time, but hopefully, will before our class on May 22nd.
See you tomorrow night in the chat room,
And, one final point: proofread your email before you send it. I cannot tell you the number of times that I see a mistake in my own prospective email. Had I sent the email with the mistake, I would have sounded like an idiot.
If the reader sees your email that is concise yet thorough with no mistakes, he/she/they will form a good opinion of your writing skills. And, the opposite is also true. These are tips on how to write a business email in a legal setting.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffet states, “[b]y far the best investment you can make is in yourself.” Buffett added that developing one’s communication skills—both in writing and in-person—”can increase [one’s] value by at least fifty percent.” Your best investment is in yourself, right? So, write!
 Warren Buffet Says This 1 Investment Decision Will Be By Far the Best One You Ever Make, Inc.com (Jan. 2021).
 Warren Buffet Says This 1 Investment Decision Will Be By Far the Best One You Ever Make, supra.