Junk Email / Spam, Small Law Firms

Size Matters: Use Your Spam Sense

Every time I get an email, I get really excited. The idea that some of my readers want to reach out and share ideas is overwhelming. Lately, the emails have taken a turn for the worse. The last email I received read like this (or a close approximation because I deleted it upon receipt for fear of catching something):

RE: Guest Post

Dear VALERIE KATZ,

I am writing because you have allowed guest bloggers to write posts on your column before. I am a regular columnist at SEXMEUP.com and think that I can write relevant material for your blog. Some column ideas I have include: My Lovely Lady Lumps and Humps, Lunchtime Quickies, How to Turn Your Office Into A Love Den or Top 10 Things You Can Do With a Stapler. All I ask in return is to be able to include a link to my blog. I think the possibility for crossover traffic is huge. Thanks, Sexy Mama.

I know what you are thinking: Katz, you better say yes to Sexy Mama since her stapler story sounds way better than your expose on office chairs at small firms. Sexy Mama did have a point about cross-over traffic: I am sure many of her readers would agree with me that Size Matters. I could not, however, agree to hand over the reigns to my column to Sexy Mama. After all, I am only interested in Lady Lumps if they relate to small firms.

I know enough not to respond to spam emails. Some other people — specifically, small firm attorneys — do not. So, I am offering them some advice….

I am sure you have seen this email (or a slight variation):

RE: 1 MILLION DOLLARS

DEAR VALERIE KATZ,

I am writing to you because I need a lawyer to help me collect on a judgment of 1 MILLION DOLLARS. I am currently residing in the Republic of Congo. This is a great opportunity for an attorney and I selected you. I am attaching a link that provides background on my case. Your help is needed immediately.

Even more obvious than Sexy Mama’s email, this email was spam. Not everyone at my firm appreciated this fact. Shortly after receiving the email, a junior partner forwarded the same email to all attorneys at the firm. He wrote:

Everyone, I just got this email. I did some research and I have concluded it is spam. Do not click the link as I now have a computer virus. I repeat, this is spam — do not click the link.

I cannot imagine what “research” he did to evaluate the validity of the email. I cannot imagine that he even thought such research was necessary. To say that this guy is a joker is an understatement. By way of example, a few years ago there was a shooting at a law firm in downtown Chicago. The building where the shooting occurred was on lock-down and everyone was afraid because the man was on the loose. The Joker sent this firm-wide email:

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. There is a shooter on the loose. Unless you have to go court.

Apparently, there are some things worth dying for — and filing motions for extension of time at state court is among them.

So my advice on spam, and all-attorney emails, is this:

(1) Do not forward spam
(2) If you are dumb enough to think that spam emails are regular emails, never use the “all attorneys” listserv
(3) Sexy Mama, leave me alone.

Any questions?

Note: for those of you wondering what is up with this column, I should admit I was recently in LeRoy, New York and I am in the midst of studying for the California Bar.


When not writing about small law firms for Above the Law, Valerie Katz (not her real name) works at a small firm in Chicago. You can reach her by email at Valerie.L.Katz@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @ValerieLKatz.

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