Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Texting Your Lawyer and/or Potential Litigants

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | June 28, 2018

No. 1,515

I used to tell clients never to text me, except in an emergency or to say something like “call me.”

I gave up on that advice because I learned that texting was the best way (sometimes the only way) to get their immediate attention.  Some people ignore incoming calls and emails, at least until it suits them. You can call, leave a message and get a call back hours or even days later.  Send an email, same outcome.  But send a text message and you are very likely to get an immediate response. The person who didn’t pick up your call or email was there all of the time.

But that doesn’t mean that you should use texts for all communications and write long text messages. I get text messages that are thousands of words long. Some will send you ten of them in a day if you don’t protest. Texts should be short — like the 120 characters that used to be required in Twitter. In addition, do not ever, ever put anything sensitive or confidential in a text message. They are too easily hacked.

Never send text messages that might be used as exhibits in a case. Text message back and forth between landlord and tenant or property owner and contractor can, over a period of time, become too confusing and too bulky to print.  If you do, never, never use profanity or make threats in such messages.  Even if they are not used against you by your opponent, that nasty content destroys their value to you as evidence. Nobody wants to look like an uncouth idiot.

Instead, use email.  Edit your message to make sure that you are saying exactly what you want to say. Correct spelling, grammar and even style.  Never forget — text messages and emails are forever.  There are no do-overs.




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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