Why do English lawyers

Sign correspondence in the firm name?  Most other jurisdictions use the name of the individual lawyer.

Is it a rule or just a convention?

I was taught that until you have spoken to the other side on the phone several times you address them as "Dear Sirs" and sign off in the name of the company.  Once you have spoken a few times you may then address it to "Mr/Mrs/Miss X" and sign off in your name.

However, these days half the people I deal with start their first e-mail with some shortened version of my name that I hate.

First of all it is a letter from the firm (ignore the fact I am the only person in my sole trader firm as I am not typical).

Secondly it helps keep at bay those on the other side who aren't law firms from the over familiarity that can be riksy. I am sick of infringing internet traders respnoding with"Dear [ my first name]" in reply to these letters.


So it is similar to the point that someone is not your client. They are a client of the firm. If the other side is a law firm and they want to move on emails to first names that is fine. That tends to happen depending on how a dispute is going actually - the nastier letters are Dear sirs and as we move through to compromise agreements it might go to full personal name and then just as we are going to sign first names even.

The PI cover is in the name of the firm, not the individuals. 

heh @ les bicyclettes

I was always told it was an insurance thing too.

Presumably also why pp firms persist with the ridiculous practice of writing, printing, signing, scanning then attaching a letter to an email rather than just emailing what they wanted to say in the first place. 

It's just accurate, isn't it?  If Herbert Smith send you a letter, it's from Herbert Smith.  Who give a shit which snotty-arsed partner wrote it.

Most other jurisdictions use the name of the individual lawyer.

And have it halfway across the fucking page underneath "very truly yours"

I very rarely write and print and scan letters when the content can be e-mailed.  I'm being driven mad by a man who will only communicate by DX and fax so that I have to write and print a letter asking him for a completion statement.

The fact that this sort of thing can cultivate an actual thread with actual discussion is why I realised I was never going to make it as a lawyer 

What would the manufacturers of fax machines do without the legal profession? My sols often used to fax over my brief, meaning that it was barely readable and any images were impossible to make out. Hard copy would arrive in the DX the following morning at around the same time that I would need to be at court. Since I left the law I haven't received a single fax.

We don't actually have fax machines any more.  I send faxes from Outlook and receive them the same way but believe the e-mail goes a fax server that converts it and sends it as a fax over the phone line.

I deal with custodially held assets.  The custodian will only take instructions by fax, as it's more secure.  Hence I (or rather, my assistant) am sending lots of faxes on a regular basis.

Litigation lawyers send letters. I post sometihng every day.  I don't have a fax machine. The IP office in wales earlier this week suggested I faxed something. I sent it by special delivery post in the end asi t was going to be too hard to email - client doc box and all kinds of complex attachments it was just quicker to print out and post to arrive the next day. Also if your letters will end up being disclosed before a judge it can look better to have them as formal letters on notepaper although I am not saying I don't send emails - of course I do, absolutely loads of them all day long and some of those will be from the firm and some to the client from me.


Anyone else put the new soon to be compulsory SRA logo on their website today? It doesn't look too bad. I think it's a pity there are a variety of versions of it as that dilutes brands so not sure who advised them on that. I don;t know why it is dated either as that will make web sites out of date after a bit unless it automaticalloy changes by some magc process every day.