Lawyers in the Emergency Room

On #lawtwitter, this email message is going around: “Just heard you are in emergency room. Hope all is ok. Pls let me know when we are in meeting today.” We don’t know if this message comes from a partner or client. On the face of it, of course the insensitivity is horrible. But it also reflects a level of anxiety on the writer’s part that is arguably enabled by the capacity to email anytime day or night and have it be read.

Had that question been left on a voicemail, the person in the emergency room would not likely have listened to it. Chances are though, that person in emergency has time on their hands – enough time to read their email, but not in a position to deal with the substance of the question. This is part of the problem, if recipients weren’t reading their emails while in emergency, would fewer such emails be sent?

How are we going to elevate our communication “best practices” so that we’re not heightening everyone’s anxiety? So far there are no helpful suggestions on this tweet, just others saying the same thing happened to them. Send your helpful suggestions to #lawtwitter but not if you’re in hospital.


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