How to be Brief Without Being Curt: Departure Emails 101

When I was a baby lawyer, I hated intra-firm emails.  They were always so curt.  It would hurt my feelings.

Now, I understand that when you get a bunch of type A personalities in a building and then make them do a bunch of things in the most inefficient way possible, they get a little antsy and need to find an outlet for their innate need to trim the fat off daily tasks.  But sometimes my colleagues would be so scrimpy with their ascii that you couldn't even understand what they were saying.

A typical exchange would look like this:

From: Last Day at the Office Emails
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 20XX  9:27 PM
To: Kurt 
Subject: New hardcopy docs


I just wanted to let you know that we just received 15 bankers boxes of hardcopy documents from opposing counsel.  I am half-way through the online review and was wondering if you'd like me to continue with that until completion and then start the hardcopy review, or if you'd prefer that I switch over to the hardcopy review immediately.  

Also, I sent you my findings re: procedural issues late last night/early this morning --you had asked for it ASAP yesterday so I just wanted to make sure you received it.  I realize now that it might have gotten lost in the daily morning email traffic.  Please let me know if you want me to re-send.

Hope you and your family are having a great Thanksgiving.

Last Day at the Office Emails

From: Kurt
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 20XX  9:28 PM
To: Last Day at the Office Emails

ok.  thnx.

Must brevity always come with the cost of meaning and hurt feelings?  As the following departure email demonstrates, no, it certainly does not.

From:   XXXX 
Sent:   Tuesday, January 25, 1994 12:24 AM 
To:     all 
Subject:        departure

After many a summer it's time to move on.   It was fun while it lasted.

                                Love and kisses and all that jazz


P.S.     Starting February 8 I can be reached at:

                        New York, New York 
                        (212 ) XXX-XXXX

Isn't that nice?  In 22 words, our writer takes you on a nostalgic saunter through summers past, showers you with affection, and somehow still manages to sound cool and slightly aloof, like the star quarterback older brother in a 1950's sitcom who's packing up for college and leaving you with his baseball card collection, cos that's kids' stuff, and it's time he grow up a little now.  Beat.  Points his finger at you like a pistol, winks.  But not too much, if you know what he means!

Thnx, Wally.  We'll miss u.