bowers.law advises Snoopy on how to write a letter!
The bowers.law team has decided as a group that we will no longer be using anachronistic salutations such as “Dear Sirs”, “Messrs” or “Dear Sir/Madam” as the default setting in any letters, emails etc. We’re sad to say that law firms are just about the worst offenders at using these out-dated terms but pleased to announce that we will no longer be causing any offence! Hopefully now, we’ll not be receiving so many letters and emails addressed to only half of us!
There are more and more Linkedin posts and (very strongly worded) reactions about the inexplicable (and unjustifiable) continued use of these horrible salutations by lawyers, which in today’s world are rightly seen as old-fashioned and just darn right rude!
Come on lawyers (male and female) – stop being old-fashioned, stuffy, condescending, rude, ignorant, and sexist! There is no good reason why formal legal correspondence also has to be insulting to half the recipients (actually, to over half of the recipients in Hong Kong where the majority of lawyers are female).
Instead, all of us lawyers can (and should) be personal, direct, polite, aware, and thoughtful (even if we are sending a nasty lawyers’ letter before action)!
- Dear Ms. Chan…Yours sincerely
- Dear Mr. Smith…Yours sincerely
- Dear All
- Dear Colleagues
- Good morning / afternoon / evening Everyone
- Hi Brian
- Hi Susan
Top tip: If you know the matter reference for the matter you’re working on (which you usually do and which usually includes the initials of the handling lawyers on the other side of the case or transaction), look up the names and contact details of the intended individual lawyer recipients on the Hong Kong Law Society Law List, and address your correspondence to those people (yes, lawyers are also people!) directly, not blindly to “Dear Sirs”.
- Dear Sirs…Yours faithfully
- Dear Mesdames…Yours faithfully (yes, some lawyers still really do use this)!
- Dear Sir / Madam…Yours faithfully