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harveyspecter993

How to Address Senior Lawyers

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As a law student, how should I address senior associates and partners at a law firm in an email? By first name or last? For context I'm not cold calling. We have had at least one meeting and I was asked to send an email on a given matter. I am not a summer student at the firm in question. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

How did that lawyer introduce him or herself? Mirror the lawyer's own language.

Edited by beyondsection17
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34 minutes ago, beyondsection17 said:

How did that lawyer introduce him or herself? Mirror the lawyer's own language.

They were introduced by their first names by another lawyer.

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3 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

As a law student, how should I address senior associates and partners at a law firm in an email? By first name or last? For context I'm not cold calling. We have had at least one meeting and I was asked to send an email on a given matter. I am not a summer student at the firm in question. Thank you.

I usually start with Mr. _____ / Ms. _____. They often respond by signing-off with their first name. Then I use their first name. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

As a law student, how should I address senior associates and partners at a law firm in an email? By first name or last? For context I'm not cold calling. We have had at least one meeting and I was asked to send an email on a given matter. I am not a summer student at the firm in question. Thank you.

I would do Mr/Ms until they personally tell me “Call me John/Jane.” (Assuming their gender is clear - if ambiguous, first name last name.) 

Edited by providence
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Use their first name, and if you want to make it more formal use “Dear [X]” instead of “Hi [X]”. 

 

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referring to someone at your own firm by "mr. x" just sounds way too formal. 

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1 hour ago, utmguy said:

referring to someone at your own firm by "mr. x" just sounds way too formal. 

It’s not OP’s firm. 

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8 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Thank you.

careful, sometimes they self-identify as "the senate"

gotta make sure first before you engage in any bargaining

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19 hours ago, providence said:

I would do Mr/Ms until they personally tell me “Call me John/Jane.” (Assuming their gender is clear - if ambiguous, first name last name.) 

Is it safe to assume a first name basis if the sign off on their reply to my email only has their first name?

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Yes. 

The usual rule is to go formal with Ms/Mr (never “Mrs”) until they sign off with their first name, OR address you by your first name.

While this is usually how correspondence progresses by the first or second email, don’t skip that step. Senior person initiates informality, always. 

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18 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Is it safe to assume a first name basis if the sign off on their reply to my email only has their first name?

Yes, if you wrote Mr/Ms and they wrote John/Jane, it’s ok to call them John/Jane now.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

Yes. 

The usual rule is to go formal with Ms/Mr (never “Mrs”) until they sign off with their first name, OR address you by your first name.

While this is usually how correspondence progresses by the first or second email, don’t skip that step. Senior person initiates informality, always. 

Thank you. I must add, though, that it feels incredibly awkward calling someone four decades older than me by their first name. I guess it's something I just have to get used to. 

Edited by harveyspecter993

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1 minute ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Thank you. I must add, though, that it feels incredibly awkward calling someone four decades older than me by their first name. I guess it's something I just have to get used to. 

When you’re working with them you will have to do it.

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I'm firmly on the Mr./Mrs. first email. If they shoot one back with "Hey Bob," Or with a "Sincerely, Jane", I'm swapping to first names.

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95% of people won't care what you do, but you have to cater to the reactionary 5% who do...

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