Thank you notes

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273588
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Thank you notes

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:07 pm

This has probably been posted before, but the search function is not helping me. When writing a thank you note to an interviewer, do you address them by their first name or by Mr./Ms. last name? This is bothering me for some reason.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273588
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:36 pm

I usually just do first or include last if that's how they introduce themselves. No ms or mr.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273588
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:16 pm

Err on the side of caution - I'd go with Mr./Ms.

User avatar
Blindmelon
Posts: 1708
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Blindmelon » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:20 pm

Mr./Ms. - you don't work there yet so its a formal communication. Err on the side of proper.

User avatar
danidancer
Posts: 841
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:46 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby danidancer » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:20 pm

1L here, but having spent a couple of years out in the workforce, I'd say I think it depends whether you got on a first name basis during the interview. Once you've established that precedent and gauged how laid back the interview is, it's probably OK to go with first name. If the interview was formal, definitely err on the side of caution.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:24 pm

danidancer wrote:1L here, but having spent a couple of years out in the workforce, I'd say I think it depends whether you got on a first name basis during the interview. Once you've established that precedent and gauged how laid back the interview is, it's probably OK to go with first name. If the interview was formal, definitely err on the side of caution.



This is correct. I always call people Mr. or Mrs. until they tell me not to. Once you've established that precedent, it's ridiculous to continue to call them anything other than their first name.

reverendt
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby reverendt » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:26 pm

If they're a lawyer I would address them as "Attorney [last name]"
So begin with "Dear Attorney Smith"

User avatar
underdawg
Posts: 1131
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby underdawg » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:44 pm

lol

Person
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:36 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Person » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:52 pm

I go exclusively first name unless they are introduced as Mr. Formality is lame to me. I would think less of someone who called me Mr., and I would prefer to work with people who feel the same way--at least prefer all else being equal; there are some firms that are on the formal side that I like for other reasons (i.e. Jones Day).

User avatar
RVP11
Posts: 2774
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:32 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby RVP11 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:55 pm

First name. You need to be polite. You don't need to be "formal."

User avatar
lilybbloom
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby lilybbloom » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:57 pm

If it's a junior associate or someone who took me to lunch, I go with first names. Otherwise, Mr. or Ms. and last name, unless specifically instructed to use their first name.

User avatar
RVP11
Posts: 2774
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:32 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby RVP11 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:57 pm

Jeez, people. They're attorneys, not foreign dignitaries.

"Mr. Jones" comes off as gunnerish and annoying.
Last edited by RVP11 on Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:32 pm

I think I should also mention that I don't write thank you notes anymore. They don't really seem to help anything. I've done just fine without writing a single thank you this year.

User avatar
War Cardinal
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby War Cardinal » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:53 pm

I usually supplement the standard honorific with a steady (but tasteful!) barrage of British honorary titles. It's worked well for me so far--WLRK really took a liking for it--so I suggest you do the same.

Instead, then, of "Mr." or the more ridiculous "Mr. Attorney X," go with something along the lines of

Proper in any Circumstance wrote:The Right Honourable Lieutenant General His Highness Milord Sir Reverend Herbert Wachtell, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and Saviour of Muffins.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273588
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:18 pm

If someone introduces themselves by their first name, and has anyone had someone introduce themselves as Mr..Mrs. XXX, you will look like a tool writing Mr./Mrs. in the thank you.

User avatar
War Cardinal
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby War Cardinal » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If someone introduces themselves by their first name, and has anyone had someone introduce themselves as Mr..Mrs. XXX, you will look like a tool writing Mr./Mrs. in the thank you.


Who the hell ever introduces his/her self as Mr./Ms.?

One can't judge propriety in this case simply from how a person refers to his/her self.

User avatar
Blindmelon
Posts: 1708
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Blindmelon » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If someone introduces themselves by their first name, and has anyone had someone introduce themselves as Mr..Mrs. XXX, you will look like a tool writing Mr./Mrs. in the thank you.


First of all, I don't get the anonymous. Second of all, no one is weirded out/insulted by being called Mr./Ms.You run the risk of sounding unprofessional as a 22-25 year old emailing a senior partner whose been at the firm for 20 years and saying "Hi Bill." I err on the safer side though.

You won't get dinged for saying Mr., but you might leave a slightly bad taste in someone's mouth if they believe it isn't as professional as it could be given the circumstances.

More importantly though, I doubt it would make any difference either way.

Bankhead
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:50 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Bankhead » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:46 pm

Usually I would go with Mr./Ms. However, I had a partner who insisted that I call him by his first name ("no please, call me David.") I called him David in the thank you letter, to a favorable result.

sbalive
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:05 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby sbalive » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:18 pm

first name

User avatar
20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby 20160810 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:21 pm

Even a first name is probably too formal. Give them a nickname, much like Ray-J does with the syphilitic female contestants on "For the Love of Ray-J."

User avatar
Bosque
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Bosque » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:44 pm

I use the full name. Not quite as formal as titles, but not quite as informal as first names.

User avatar
War Cardinal
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby War Cardinal » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:04 pm

Bosque wrote:I use the full name. Not quite as formal as titles, but not quite as informal as first names.


That's pretty awkward.

Bosque's Awkward Thank You Note wrote:
Dear Reginald Smith,

It was a pleasure meeting you on Wednesday. Thank you so much for taking the time to . . .

User avatar
Bosque
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Bosque » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:50 pm

War Cardinal wrote:
Bosque wrote:I use the full name. Not quite as formal as titles, but not quite as informal as first names.


That's pretty awkward.

Bosque's Awkward Thank You Note wrote:
Dear Reginald Smith,

It was a pleasure meeting you on Wednesday. Thank you so much for taking the time to . . .


How is that any more awkward than "Dear Mr. Smith", or "Dear Reginald?" Sounds just fine to me.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273588
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:01 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
whyamidoingthis
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:31 am

Re: Thank you notes

Postby whyamidoingthis » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:26 pm

General rules (taught to me by a VP of HR at a Fortune 500):

If they sign an email with their first name (as opposed to their full name), you are totally safe using the first name from then on.

If there has been no written communication and assuming you are in your 20s:
Interviewer is in their 20s--address by first name, highly unlikely to be offended by informality
Interviewer is in their 30s--judgment call, unless you're a complete social idiot, you should be able to tell how "formal" or "informal" someone is with you during your interview
Interviewer is 40+--stick with Mr./Ms for the first email/letter even if they introduced themselves in an interview by their first name. It's accepted social protocol and no one will fault you for following it (I know someone said it's gunnery, but seriously, it's been considered appropriate etiquette for centuries, check you emily post). There are people, on the other hand, who WILL fault you for being too casual. I'm from a very informal part of the country and I've heard older execs there (and where I live now) complain that people our age are pretty presumptuous about the first name thing. Seems better to be safe than sorry.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.