Six Stupid Salutations (That Every Lawyer Uses)

I assume you all know that lawyers are stuck in the 1990s. Lawyers still use faxes. Many still hand write notes on yellow legal pads. Our offices are filled with filing cabinets from cases 8 years old. But most old-timey of all: We love writing letters. And when it comes to legal writing, its not how you start but how you finish.

Very Truly Yours

Are we dating? What do you mean you are very truly mine? Are you a member of Savage Garden? Anyways, I love getting your letters. Sure you are just writing to send me another motion to dismiss or summary judgment but at least end the end I know that you are truly mine. That makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Sincerely

Real talk—how many times did you have to try and spell sincerely? At least 4 right? Also, I don’t know how you were raised but berating me because I didn’t send you every specific piece of discovery that you requested doesn’t sound very sincere. Do you sincerely kiss your mother with that mouth?

Best

I know I am the best. Thanks for helping make my day. Seriously, how is sending shitty emails at the end of the day the best? Am I the only person you call the best or do you send out typo filled emails to all of your other opposing counsels?

Regards

What does that even mean? When in your life do you ever say “regards” to someone other than when you write a letter/email? If someone holds the door open for you do you turn and say “regards.” Even when you combine ‘Regards’ with the aforementioned ‘Best’ it still doesn’t make sense. I guess you are not just sending me your normal regards that your client hates my client but your best regards. Sorry if I don’t feel all hot and bothered.

Well Wishes

Is today my birthday? I gave up on wishing when I was eight. Apparently you think sending me a letter with some empty hearted wishes will help your chances in this settlement proposal. Well keep on wishing toots, I’m going to need another 20 grand on this amount to consider accepting.

Cheers

Cheers? I’m not Ted fricking Danson. I am sitting in an office with one window. It is 75 and sunny out and I am going to be stuck in an office all day slaving away for a partner who is out playing golf. Meanwhile you are reminding me of the happy hour I am missing because I threw my life away 8 years ago and decided to go to law school. Let me give you a salutation:

Thanks Asshole,

Han B. Solo

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevegarfield/616793140/)

27 Comments

  1. Christy

    May 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    My personal (least) favorite, and usually in this form, is:

    As always, I remain —

    Very truly yours

  2. Valerie

    May 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    This is hilarious. I used all except Well Wishes and Cheers. Lol.

  3. Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)

    May 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I guess that techically, you don’t even have to add your name at the end of the email because presumably, the receiver knows you sent it from your email address—unless, of course, your email address is “bikerchick@gmail.com”. Question: Have you ever written to a judge and not closed your letter with “Reapectfully”? How often are your thoughts about that judge the antithesis of respectful?

  4. Arthur Siegal

    May 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Aren’t these “valedictions” and not “salutations”? Aren’t salutations the greeting at the beginning of a letter like “Dear Bitter Lawyer” – which one could argue is strange – given that I don’t know you and you aren’t dear to me….. but it is formal and is better than “hey you”

  5. Globex Corporation

    May 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Salutation ≠ valediction.

  6. Christine W

    May 6, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Having eliminated every possibility I’ve ever seen, how about some suggestions for acceptable alternatives?

  7. Jennifer

    May 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    All salutations are stupid. The use of “Dear Counsel,” is stupid. You can go either way:

    Begin your letter without “Dear” and end it as if “Thank you for your attention” was the salutation.

    OR

    Keep the “Dear” in front of the attorney you can’t stand and conclude with “Very truly yours,” so that everyone knows you are willing to follow traditions of courtesy even if you hate them.

    I choose the second option, not because it isn’t ridiculous, but because it’s already ridiculous that I have to write a letter at all! Life is a tragic comedy. Make the most of it.

  8. G

    May 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Those aren’t salutations.

  9. Ravashing Rick Rude

    May 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I prefer to sign my e-mails:

    Shitcocks,

    Rick Rude

  10. Bixby

    May 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I just end all letters the same:

    Fuck you flaccidly,
    Bixby, Esq.

  11. Matt

    May 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Name it: what are the suitable salutations, if any?

  12. Chris Bradley

    May 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    What works, then, for salutations? I often use “sincerely.” It just comes off as nice. I hate the others, especially “very truly yours.” What would work in your book? Or do we dispense with salutations altogether?

  13. Astraea_M

    May 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    So what should I say “So long sucka,” or maybe “And I hope you never darken my doorstep again,”?

    I need suggestions! I don’t think I can manage “Thanks Asshole,”

  14. Michael

    May 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    While your explanation of each of the above provided a much-needed laugh, I suspect that your third grade teacher is cringing at the realization that he or she taught you the parts of a letter and yet you do not recall the difference between the salutation (Dear Mr. Solo:) and the complimentary closing (see six examples, above).
    Also, I am terribly disappointed that my personal favorite didn’t make the list. Granted, it peaked in popularity during the eighteenth century, but we may have a few lawyers who are still stuck there.
    I remain —
    Your obedient servant,

  15. Julie

    May 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I sign off with ‘Cordially’. If there was a sarcasm font, I would use that when I sign off as well.

  16. Nicole

    May 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I agree completely. Except for the last point which is less about being Sam and more about being fake British. But what do you use instead? Just your name? Is there an acceptable sign-off? (Btw, is salutation the correct word? I think of A salutation as how you begin a letter. Something I also have trouble with. Are you really “dear” to me? No, not really. But what is the alternative?)

  17. Lex-Warrier

    May 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    So could you please suggest what are the best salutations a lawyer must use…!!
    Thanks in advance.

    • Oliver Babish

      May 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

      How about forgoing valediction altogether? It is an unnecessary and tired relic from when we actually wrote letters, unless you think Ken Burns is going to make a Civil War-era documentary on your law firm. If you’re feeling especially daring, try omitting the salutation, as well. It’s liberating.

  18. Energy Lawyer

    May 7, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Terrible article. It seems that the author has very little understanding of the salutations.

  19. Byron

    May 7, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Some salutes we should adopt:

    My motion will destroy your motion,
    I’m going to res your judicata,
    My life sucks too,
    Go F yourself,
    My partner shoots lower than your partner,
    Random words promoting professionalism,
    and my favorite
    Bahahahaha,

  20. william weintraub

    May 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I always thought that a salutation is a greeting that opens a letter and the valediction is the closing of the letter. So I guess I was wrong, dear author.

  21. Mark P. Albright

    May 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Though I found this piece amusing and I *do* find many of these closings somewhat stilted and antiquated, I don’t know what to use in their place. My standard close is “Sincerely”. Dictionary.com defines ‘sincere’ as:

    adjective, sin·cer·er, sin·cer·est.
    1. free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest: a sincere apology.
    2. genuine; real: a sincere effort to improve; a sincere friend.
    3. pure; unmixed; unadulterated.

    I can say without hesitation that every sentiment I express in my business correspondence meets those standards, so until someone comes up with something better, I’ll continue on sincerely. Now if I were to close letters to colleagues and deadbeats without any constraints – ethical or otherwise – on my choice of language, I would use one of these alternatives in a heartbeat:

    * See you in court!
    * Demur to that, jackass!
    * Hoping I need never write to you again –
    * Seriously – What the hell is wrong with you?!?
    O R . . .
    * Too annoyed to respond further to your bullshit -

  22. AMV

    May 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Just remember, this website is “Bitter” Lawyer not bright lawyer if you are looking for any practical advice.

  23. Lee-Type

    May 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I’m with some of the other commenters in wanting to see some suggestions on the correct/best way to end an email or in the rare case letter. In that spirit, here’s my suggestion:

    Govern yourself accordingly. I am your worst goddamn nightmare,

    Go Fuck Yourself,

    [Name]

  24. Kooz

    May 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    How about:

    You’ve been warned,

    Joe Schmo, Esq.

  25. Jennifer

    May 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Very funny indeed

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