Lawyer's long, weird sigfile setting out when and whether he's willing to talk on the phone goes viral

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Any personal characteristics of the attorney aside, I really like this. Maybe I will use it as my outbound phone message.


I disagree with your claimed use of email being more efficient than phone Cory.

I can speak and discuss something to the point a hell of a lot quicker over the phone than having a one sided typing test with someone else, then waiting a day for them to get around to checking their email.

I do most things through my phone and type as little as possible using voice to text to get my point across quickly but voice-to-text is shit and inefficient. I spend almost as much time correcting it as I do using it.

The only thing that’s old-fashioned about using a phone to actually talk to someone is people are convinced that it’s old-fashioned. I hate writing emails to people because it takes them days or weeks to get back to me sometimes, and I regularly order stuff from all over the world.


I kind of like this though. Because if I am his client I am paying him by the hour, and he is evidently using those hours as efficiently as possible (also my first thought was this guy might be on the ASD spectrum, complex rules devoted to efficiency without thought to how they will be perceived socially.)


I also think that there is some remaining value in talking with people as people. Nobody spends time in an email chit-chatting about what they’re up for the holidays or checking in on someone’s kids or bullshitting about last weekend’s football game, but when spend five minutes on the phone doing those things with someone you can’t help but think of them as human beings and not just signature lines on an email.

I’d wager with certainty that having and maintaining a regimented audition process to gain an audience with this lawyer is less “efficient” than the lawyer taking 10-15 minutes to have a conversation with an opposing counsel about the case. In general, the lawyers on the other side of the case value their time as well, and aren’t usually calling folks up out of the blue to waste everyone’s time.


It’s only about an 0.5 on the Kibo scale.


Well, he has a point.


Cory may very well be an expert emailer and if so, I applaud him. I also think that there are many meetings/phone calls which would have been more efficient as emails.

Unfortunately, my experience has been that the people that most whine and complain about how every meeting or phone call “should have been an email” are also terrible at emails. My boss is very insistent that emails should be clear and as concise and readable as possible and I try to follow this. So my emails are often of the form:

Hi so-and-so. I’m working on Project XYZ and I need the following information from you to accomplish Task A:

  1. When did X happen?
  2. For Project ZYX, are we taking Path A or Path B?
  3. Who is the best member of your team to discuss Function DEF with?

And inevitably I will get back

Hi Mark.Sounds good!
Sent from my iPhone

What sounds good? I asked you three very specific questions and “sounds good” wasn’t an answer to any of them. So I’ll follow up with another email saying “Sorry,I don’t understand. Do you need more time to get me the information?” and they’ll respond with an email that sort-of-but-not-really answers question 2 and totally ignores the other questions.

This goes on for two days and then I schedule a phone call or meeting and get the information I need in 10 minutes.


My favorite sigfile is:

There is no time of the day or night that is too early or too late to call me.
But please no email after 9 PM :wink:


Pfft! People who act like a sigfile is a binding shrinkwrap contract.

“Sorry, I never read it. I guess my crapfilter auto-removed it.”


This is a series of instructions of the sort I might be tempted to give to some of my own consulting clients, but that decades of experience have taught me are completely unworkable and would only make me look like an arsehole. If you have a client you don’t like, just fire him the first chance you get – an attorney may not get that chance as soon as I can, but eventually that moment will arrive for him, too.

There’s no hard answer either way. I tend to be an e-mail guy, but the context changes according to circumstances. I had a negotiation just this morning that the other party wanted to do by e-mail, but I insisted on a face-to-face or phone meeting instead to get a more productive outcome. 15 minutes later we had a deal we were both happy with – it would have taken a lot more time and energy to get the same outcome via e-mail.

Other times, e-mail is more efficient, provides a written record, and cuts through a lot of the banalities and time-wasters. Flexibility and reading the situation are key.

For many years now, I’ve followed Dawn Steel’s rule about doing one’s best to respond to any and every query (phone calls, and nowadays e-mails and texts) within 24 hours of receipt, preferably a lot less (I also apply David Allen’s 2-minute rule). So few people in the business world can clear even those low bars that my clients think of me as being a lot more accessible than I am in reality.


Sorry, no subtitles, but the context is clear about gaining audience with Louis XVI…


Or maybe he’s just on his period, amirite… /s

The sigfile has gone viral in the lawblawgging world


I’m o.k. with this and can relate.

If you call me, you are vying for my attention in a very immediate way and If you can’t get to a point where it’s worth my while within 5 minutes then you’re just wasting time for both of us.

I’m much more lax when answering e-mails because I make the time for that.

It bears pointing out:

Emails are discoverable. Phone calls, unless recorded and/or transcribed, are not.


I don’t have a problem with it. It clearly lays out what you need to do to talk to him. This is better than wasting time trying to get past an assistant whose job consists of letting as few people as possible bother him or leaving an email that may or may not get seen and then maybe get a response.

Plus, as noted above, emails are discoverable. In my job I need to communicate with lawyers and judges and there are conversations that are necessary but which could cause problems if it were in writing. I can easily give my opinion on the phone, but if I put it in writing it becomes company policy.

I know some university faculty who would LOVE to use this sigfile.


I wonder if his eventual obituary will say that he “didn’t suffer fools gladly”?

Came here to say this