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Myself
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

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Postby Myself » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:23 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Informal emails

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:27 pm

The neuroticism of law students is hilarious.

Myself
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

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Postby Myself » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:27 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

Gorki
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Gorki » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:28 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Have you guys ever experienced this? You're applying for a job with a law firm, agency, etc. and while corresponding via email, the person on the other end is just very informal and loose with his grammar, spelling, and word choice (e.g., writing "k" instead of "okay," writing "yea," using a lot of slang, etc.). How do you respond? Do you just keep trying to stay formal? Loosen up a bit?


I have experienced more casual tone, but never 'k' and 'yea'... Being casual in correspondence is one thing, to use text-speak to a recruit just seems cheesy to me.

Anyways, I just drop the 'Dear' and 'Sincerely' to make it sound less weird. As for the rest of the message I keep my writing formal and professional... In the end, its you who is applying for the job, not them. So to reply, you could try:

[Their First Name]:

[Text]

From,
[Your First Name]

EDIT: Also, if the response is clear enough that you do not need to reply, then do not. If you are confirming an interview with Partner X at a certain time, and they just say "k" you are done and just have to show up.

Myself
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

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Postby Myself » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:38 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gorki
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Gorki » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:43 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Thanks. I also find it weird when they just start calling you by a nickname you've never given them or mentioned. For example, calling a person Jen or Jenny instead of Jennifer.


This is really weird. You do not have to out the entity, but I assume smaller non-profit. I have never heard of any firm, regardless of size, communicating on a professional level like this. Even the smallest/solo firms I have applied to keep it very formal (understandably, as they often times have the most to lose by sending wrong impression to a single person).

NewYorkStork
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Re: Informal emails

Postby NewYorkStork » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:22 pm

The neuroticism of law students is hilarious.


I find the OP's inquiry a really fair one. American culture/the English language is much more vague about what is appropriate in situations like the OP is describing than most cultures and languages, and it's natural to be confused. Contrary to the implication of the quoted text, making these decisions can have an impact as well. For example, if your interviewer starts dropping F bombs left and right, it could still be awkward and possibly even off-putting to the interviewer if you start cussing as well. At the same time, if your interviewers are very casual with their topics and manner of speaking and you keep a rigid form, that could obviously and easily make you an unattractive candidate. Point is, the extent to which you should or shouldn't mimic the level of formality of the people on the other end of the interviewing process is a difficult decision that can have an impact on how they perceive you, and ultimately, whether or not they would like to extend you an offer.

In regard to the original inquiry, I think Gorki's advice is on point. It is worth noting that this is an extremely busy time for recruiting directors at firms. I had one recruiting director tell me that she gets so many e-mails during this period that she cannot possibly read all of them, so she has to almost choose at random when it comes to e-mails from people she's unfamiliar with. With that in mind, the casual behavior of a recruiting director may not be an invitation to be equally casual, but instead is a reflection of how busy he or she is. I would stick with being mostly formal unless it is somehow expressly indicated that you can relax. I think Gorki's recommendations were a good example of how you can relax around the edges but not drop your appearance of being professional.

As far as people calling you nicknames without indication from you that it is what you go by, that's just weird and impolite. More likely than not, they thought you said a nickname and got confused.

Anonymous User
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:30 pm

NewYorkStork wrote:
The neuroticism of law students is hilarious.


I find the OP's inquiry a really fair one. American culture/the English language is much more vague about what is appropriate in situations like the OP is describing than most cultures and languages, and it's natural to be confused. Contrary to the implication of the quoted text, making these decisions can have an impact as well. For example, if your interviewer starts dropping F bombs left and right, it could still be awkward and possibly even off-putting to the interviewer if you start cussing as well. At the same time, if your interviewers are very casual with their topics and manner of speaking and you keep a rigid form, that could obviously and easily make you an unattractive candidate. Point is, the extent to which you should or shouldn't mimic the level of formality of the people on the other end of the interviewing process is a difficult decision that can have an impact on how they perceive you, and ultimately, whether or not they would like to extend you an offer.

In regard to the original inquiry, I think Gorki's advice is on point. It is worth noting that this is an extremely busy time for recruiting directors at firms. I had one recruiting director tell me that she gets so many e-mails during this period that she cannot possibly read all of them, so she has to almost choose at random when it comes to e-mails from people she's unfamiliar with. With that in mind, the casual behavior of a recruiting director may not be an invitation to be equally casual, but instead is a reflection of how busy he or she is. I would stick with being mostly formal unless it is somehow expressly indicated that you can relax. I think Gorki's recommendations were a good example of how you can relax around the edges but not drop your appearance of being professional.

As far as people calling you nicknames without indication from you that it is what you go by, that's just weird and impolite. More likely than not, they thought you said a nickname and got confused.


I'm not judging, I've had my moments of neuroticism during this process as well, but I still find the post comical. The level of informality is maybe harder to adjust appropriately in an interview, but OP was talking about an e-mail and this situation is straightforward. Don't use abbreviations in your e-mails, period.

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

Re: Informal emails

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:14 pm

I received a lot of smiley faces from recruiters. I usually respond with one too. But that's about it.

Peg
Posts: 331
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Peg » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I received a lot of smiley faces from recruiters. I usually respond with one too. But that's about it.


Now I'm pissed I never got a smiley face.

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

Re: Informal emails

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:43 pm

Formal until I'm sitting in my office. No risk to doing it that way, some risk for the alternative.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:47 pm

If they are informal I think you can loosen up, but don't use slang imo. Always call partners by Mr. or Ms. _______ unless they say otherwise though IMO. Generally err on side of formality, but don't be too stuffy.

Anonymous User
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:13 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Have you guys ever experienced this? You're applying for a job with a law firm, agency, etc. and while corresponding via email, the person on the other end is just very informal and loose with his grammar, spelling, and word choice (e.g., writing "k" instead of "okay," writing "yea," using a lot of slang, etc.). How do you respond? Do you just keep trying to stay formal? Loosen up a bit?


If you are already in an email conversation with them you don't need to write "Dear Mr. XX" every email anyway. I would never use slang in written conversations but otherwise I don't really know what you're asking. If they are like "yah true dat" and you want to know when the interview is, be like "Thanks! What day are you available?" I don't know what else you could possibly write unless you're asking if you should write slang too, in which case my answer would be NO!

IFoughtTheLaw
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:37 pm

Re: Informal emails

Postby IFoughtTheLaw » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:48 pm

Unless it's a blind networking e-mail, I would never use "Dear Mr. X". Just "Bill," or "Hi Bill,".

If someone is really informal, I would drop down the level of formality somewhat, e.g. "Thanks" instead of "Thank you", or "Sounds great. Let me know what works." instead of "That sounds terrific, and I really appreciate your assistance. Please let me know what day and time would be most convenient for you." In other words, just slightly less stilted language (those might not be the best examples).

But I wouldn't use slang or "yea".

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Lawquacious
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:02 pm

IFoughtTheLaw wrote:Unless it's a blind networking e-mail, I would never use "Dear Mr. X".Just "Bill," or "Hi Bill,"..



lol no. In the context of legal recruitment you don't know WTF you are talking about. First name is too informal for email to firms, unless perhaps you are hired there for position already. But TBF, if you are talking about an exchange rather than initial email, I think it is safe to drop the "Dear so and so" and just say "Wednesday the 15th works great" etc. Probably wouldn't be a killer to use first name, but at least traditional wisdom on this is to be pretty damn careful about using respectful titles, especially for partners at a firm (e.g. "sir" or "Mr. ______).

Myself
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Myself » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:01 am

Do you think being too formal can be off-putting, though?

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Lawquacious
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Re: Informal emails

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:18 am

ajax adonis wrote:Do you think being too formal can be off-putting, though?



Yes, don't be too formal. But in early emails to firms I don't think using first names is credited unless someone says to do so.




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