Quick Tip #2: Read Down Email Chains

When you’re forwarded an email or added to a reply on an ongoing thread, always read the whole email chain.  I know, when you’re busy, it’s tempting to immediately focus on the specific message meant for you and act; but you should always start at the very bottom and work your way up.  We first mentioned reading down email chains in our “‘Biglaw Basics’:  The Staffing Meeting” post as a way to potentially get more color on a new assignment when you’re looped in on an email staffing request.  But it can be valuable in all aspects of your practice.  There’s often important color on an ongoing dialogue imbedded in those lines that you might not otherwise get or know, and that context can be critical to your fully understanding, and flawlessly executing, what you’re being asked to do.  Often the full chain will also communicate essential dynamics around what’s being discussed so you can navigate critical atmospherics like urgency, tension between stakeholders, competing views on the path forward, etc.  Getting your information from that kind of “primary” source (to supplement a stylized message, crafted for your eyes and intended to synthesize the information mix for you) can be immensely useful in shaping your response in a way as to generate the best possible results.  Don’t miss the opportunity.