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Informal Written Communication Skills for New Attorneys in a Digital Age: Drafting Emails, Texts, Instant Messages

Knowing Your Audience, Creating Persuasive Content, Selecting the Right Platform, Protecting Privilege

Recording of a 60-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will instruct new lawyers on the art of drafting clear and concise informal communications, including emails, texts, and instant messages (IMs), that are audience-appropriate and persuasive. The panel will also address privilege and ethical considerations.


While much of the training new lawyers receive is focused on formal writing, such as how to draft briefs, memos, letters, and contracts, most of the writing performed by lawyers in their daily professional life is informal communication in the form of emails, texts, and IMs. Therefore, drafting clear and concise informal communications that are audience-appropriate is a vital part of a lawyer's practice. How one responds to an email request from a Partner as opposed to a client question will vary greatly.

Lawyers should understand the various pre-drafting considerations to be made before creating an email, text, or IM—including the tone to use, word choice, and the level of explanation that may be required. They should also know how to clearly communicate the message, select the right method of communication, and understand how privilege and ethical issues may affect their choice.

Listen as our expert panel provides guidance to new lawyers on the art of drafting clear and concise audience-appropriate informal communications while maintaining privilege.



  1. Pre-drafting considerations
    1. Understanding your audience
    2. Organizing your ideas
  2. Selecting the right medium (email, text, IM):
    1. Advantages and disadvantages of each
    2. When to use which type of medium
    3. Setting client expectations
  3. Drafting a persuasive message
    1. Tone
    2. Clear, concise, and to the point
    3. Word choice
      1. Legal vs. nonlegal terminology
      2. Slang, emojis, acronyms, and idioms
    4. Level of explanation required
  4. Privilege and ethical considerations
  5. Review and revision
  6. Practitioner takeaways


The panel will review these and other key considerations:

  • What pre-drafting considerations should be made before drafting any informal communication and how do these differ based on the audience?
  • Under what circumstances should certain methods of communication be used? Be avoided?
  • What ethical and privilege issues should lawyers consider when selecting a method of communication and before drafting the communication?
  • What are best practices for drafting a persuasive message?


Cunningham, Jeffrey
Jeffrey Cunningham

McAngus Goudelock & Courie

Mr. Cunningham’s practice focus runs the gamut of professional liability exposures but with a particular emphasis...  |  Read More

Additional faculty
to be announced.

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