Free e-mail services from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others make getting up and running with an e-mail address a trivial effort. The unfortunate side effect of choosing to use a free email address for a law office – or any business for that matter – is that these free e-mail addresses are burdened with a negative perception: price sends a signal, and using a free e-mail service as a core part of your businesses front-office sends the wrong message.
Just a few ago, cost was a reasonable justification for solos and small firms to choose a free e-mail service. The expense of licensing an e-mail server such as Microsoft Exchange, and hiring a consultant to get everything up-and-running could easily run into the thousands of dollars.
However, in the era of cloud computing, that's all changed. Google Apps, for example, offers a turn-key e-mail hosting service – including domain name registration – for $10/year. Microsoft offers hosted e-mail for less than $2.00/user/month. With services such as these, getting up-and-running with your own @lawfirm.com e-mail address takes only a few minutes to do, and costs less than what most of us spend on coffee in a week.
If you're using an @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com or other free e-mail address, make the switch now. Your online presence will thank you for it.