Urgent E-mails

I have a colleague who sends every e-mail with the annoying red exclamation mark which automatically makes me think I should ignore it for several days.

Because everything is "urgent", if you want DP to actually meet a deadline it needs to be "SUPER MEGA CRITICALLY URGENT!!!". 

After finishing the LPC I worked as a legal secretary for a few months. To begin with I always dealt with the matters marked urgent as a priority. After a couple of days I realised that one senior associate was marking all her work urgent when it didn't appear to be any more urgent than anyone else's work (including a partner's), so I started to assume none of it was urgent. Also, she was a cow. So after that point I did the work in order of how much I liked the person.

It didn't end well when something of hers was actually urgent.

Don't be the boy who cried wolf.

The obvious answer is to mention it to them so they stop it 

Hang on, Penny: who did it not end well for? You, or her, or someone else?

I can imagine it went like this:

Partner: "Holy shit, x document wasn't done on time! We've had a complaint!"

ASSociate: "Not my fault! I marked it as urgent! Blame SeccyPenny!"

Penny: "You mark everything as urgent, bitch, so we treat it as normal."

It can go one of two ways from there:

1. Partner assumes fee earners are blameless, blames seccypenny.

2. Other seccies mount intimidation campaign against associate and, unless he concedes immediately, partner, until it's hushed up, no one talks about it again, associate quietly stops marking things urgent unless they are.

I was on a temporary contract and buggering off abroad two weeks later, so I really didn't give a shit. 

Plus I'm pretty sure the partner knew exactly how useless she was.

In short, there were no consequences for me, and I wouldn't really have cared if there had been.

As LP and Abbs allude to generally speaking with clients/people who mark every e-mail as urgent the work tends to move down the queue not up.  Whereas if I get an e-mail marked urgent from good clients who rarely/never mark something as urgent it clearly is and gets looked at first.

Suspect a lot of people are similar and that people who mark all e-mails as urgent don't realise this is often counter productive and certainly doesn't get work looked at quicker.

I certainly use the high importance button sparingly as a consequence. 

I’ve never marked an email as urgent.

We’re lawyers ffs, not surgeons.

Would it change your opinions if I said this is someone who works in the finance team who is generally e-mailing to ask if the money on client account can be used to pay the bill I issued ten minutes ago?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that secretaries in possession  of 2 years employment are not in want of condescension from reasonably attractive female associates.

I just reply and change the urgency level to ‘low’ 

Soz didn't notice this was old thread.  Internet shame.