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Law firms and email signature compliance

It is quite surprising how little major law firms invest in ensuring total compliance and brand consistency when it comes to their employees’ email signatures. It is equally amazing as the information provided in these signature is both pertinent and required by the legal industry.

Many firms will have a basic set of rules in place, but the enforcement of these tend to be ad hoc at best and often simply left to employees to figure out for themselves. The standard response is often “Our IT department handles all email signatures and are in charge of the process.” Here are some real life cases that have come up when this subject is broached:

  • New staff members will be given instructions on how to copy and paste the signature template of a colleagues. However, this doesn’t take into account aging disclaimer statements, which can change over time. It is not uncommon for certain employees, including senior partners, to have disclaimers that are years out of date.
  • Junior lawyers will have the same signature as board certified members. This means there is no distinction between the signatures of lawyers with different certification levels.
  • An IT department might not actually have the authority to change email signature templates as it will be under the remit of the senior partners. If the organization is a large multinational firm, this can lead to regional offices not adopting templates with new branding and messaging.
  • There have been cases where lawyers have their emails relating to their legal practice placed with those of wealth management. The IRS requires that wealth management related emails have IRS specific disclaimers appended, which some lawyers simply don’t pay attention to.

In order to enforce email signatures across an entire company, dedicated software is required which can implement signature variations based on the situation of the email sender. Current email systems simply don’t provide marketing or IT departments with the automation required to achieve email signature compliance. This is the reason why more and more law firms are choosing  Signature Manager Outlook Edition and Signature Manager Exchange Edition to address this issue.