Handheld Device Etiquette and How to Whip your Device into Professional Shape

Handheld Device Etiquette and How to Whip your Device into Professional Shape


I came across some interesting Internet dialogue about handheld device etiquette. Apparently, it is offensive to sign off on an email with "Sent from my iPad 2." You see, the pre-programmed iPad 2 insignia does not actually contain the "2," so in this case the user is typing the "2" in manually to ensure you know he or she is not using a first generation iPad. It is also impolite to sign off with "Sent from my iPhone . . . JEALOUS?!" Ha. I wonder why. 

Whether you are using an iPad, an iPhone, a Blackberry, or some other handheld device, each one comes with a number of automatic features that are not particularly suitable for lawyers and other professionals. 

Here are some quick ways to get your handheld device in professional shape: 

1. Delete Your Automatic "Sent From" Signature 

Whether you are bragging about the iPad 2 or simply signing off with a note that your email was sent from a handheld device, consider removing this entirely.  The implication is that the email was not carefully written or not carefully considered, which is not a message we want to continually share each time we send an email.  This is especially true given the volume of emails we send daily from our handheld devices.  You should also delete this because it is not imperative for people to know you are away from your desk while tending to your work.  In fact, the beauty of our handheld devices is that we can now work from anywhere, without anyone being the wiser. 

2. Password Lock Your Handheld Device  

This step is crucial - and not optional, frankly.  As lawyers and other professionals, we are dealing with sensitive, if not strictly confidential, information.  If you ever lose your handheld device, you want to be sure the information contained on it is not accessible to anyone.  Set up a unique password and change the password regularly to ensure the confidential information is protected.  

3. Put Select Identifying Information On Your Home Screen  

As a follow up to item 2, if you do lose your handheld device, you want to make it easy for someone to return it to you.  On your home screen (the screen that is visible when your handheld is locked), include your name, firm or company, firm or company address, and a phone number where you can be reached.  Avoid including your home address or home number, if possible.  

4. Put Your Handheld On Silent  

For some reason, we tend to equate the "vibrate" option on our handheld devices with "silent."  In fact, you can generally hear when a handheld device vibrates and this can be distracting when you are in a meeting, during a conversation, or in other professional settings.  So, rather than selecting vibrate (or worse, a ring tone), set your phone to silent during working hours.  

Desiree Moore is the President and founder of Greenhorn Legal, LLC. Greenhorn Legal offers intensive practical skills training programs for law students and new lawyers as they transition from law school into their legal practices.  Ms. Moore is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was an associate at the law firm of K&L Gates. She can be found on Twitter at @greenhornlegal.