As part of a Big Firm with partners, Cogs and clients spread out over various countries, states, cities and even floors, personal interaction is often limited. For many of the partners and clients I have assisted over the years, I am nothing more than a talking speaker box. Previously valuable social skills — like a great smile, firm handshake, good posture and fresh breath — become irrelevant when your interaction is limited to e-mails, voice mails and conference calls.

Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. If so, you know that people still look for an artificial way to judge you and your competence, and that way is now your e-mail and telephone style. I have a few tips to help you avoid being perceived as a socially inept virtual lawyer.

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