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Lawyers Behaving Badly -- On the Phone

What is it about that staple of law practice, the conference call, that makes "normally well-behaved people forget all their manners and start acting in the most inconsiderate fashion?" asks Christoph von Teichman at the Legal Week blog Legal Village. Von Teichman, a partner in the Hamburg office of Latham & Watkins, acknowledges that conference calls have their useful role, "but most of the time they make for a painful experience," he says. In describing what ails the common conference call, he offers tips for its cure:

  • Be punctual. "More often than not, the first 15 minutes of any call are spent waiting for other participants to join."
  • Observe roll-call etiquette. "Every conference call has a host and it is up to that host to call the roll."
  • Take it off line. "It is quite rude to waste everyone else's time by engaging in long discussions about a topic that is of interest to only one or two."
  • E-nun-ci-ate. "It is often a challenge to understand all that is being said."
  • Discover your mute button. "Many people do not seem to realise that their mobile phones can be put on mute."
  • Juice your BlackBerry. "These, left near the phone, will produce a weird electronic noise."
  • Hold the hold music. "You get an urgent message to call someone else, so you put the conference on hold."

He has others, but they boil down to this: "A bit more consideration for the fact that you are not the only person on the call!" [Hat tip to Rees Morrison at Law Department Management.]

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 14, 2007 at 04:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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