Proctor : October 2018
23 PROCTOR | October 2018 It’s time to weigh up your options. Clarence Virtual Law takes the risk and worry out of starting your own practice. With $6k of value for just $980 pm, it’s everything you need to be up and running from day one. Visit clarencevirtuallaw.com.au or call 1300 310 500 to find out more. Workplaces for Lawyers TM Ethics Courtesy – let’s avoid informality by Stafford Shepherd When we write a letter, email or any written communication to a colleague for a client, we need to be mindful that such communication could be tendered at some time as evidence in proceedings. It is best for us to avoid familiarity and informality. For instance, unless a colleague invites us to use their given name, we should continue to use salutations such as ‘Dear Colleague’ or ‘Dear Mr X’ or ‘Dear Miss/Ms Y’, until invited by our colleague to address them by their given name or the circumstances are such that the use of the given name is acceptable to all parties. And avoid references to personal issues or expressing a personal opinion. Emails have aided in getting our client’s concerns across quicker, but this should not be seen to mean that a less formal approach can be adopted. Statements about going to the pub, or ‘thanking God it is Friday’ should be reserved for less formal communications. When we write a letter or send an email addressed to any person (whether client, colleague or a third person), it should be courteous and avoid offensive language. Being too familiar or informal can be a disservice to the client and may lead our client to question whether we are looking after their best interests. When dealing with colleagues, we must take all reasonable care to maintain the integrity and reputation of the profession by ensuring that our communications, whether they are written or oral, are courteous. Before sending the letter or email, think about what a court or your client may think if that document is tendered in evidence. More information on this and related topics is available online from the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre, qls.com.au/ethics . Stafford Shepherd is the director of the Queensland Law Society Ethics and Practice Centre.