Free Gmail accounts and lawyers have been the topic of discussions and debates from coast to coast since Gmail’s inception on April 1, 2004. I ‘d been working as a freelancer for over ten years by the time Gmail launched. I can remember having conversations with colleges about safety issues with free email. To me, it seemed to be a no-brainer — there is no way a free product can give you the level of security your clients deserve.
I would love to write a well thought out article about how using free Gmail accounts go against the attorney’s professional code of conduct, confidentiality, and blah, blah, but I am not going too. I will leave the legal debate for the lawyers and the Bar Associations. What I am going to tell you are all reasons lawyers, law firms, and paralegals should not use free Gmail or any free web-based email accounts as a professional means of communication-based on business principals.
Why you should not use free Gmail Accounts for a law practice
I am always looking for ways to reduce costs and increase profits. However, there are specific areas of my business I will not cut corners to reduce my overhead my email is one of those areas. Here’s why:
- Data breaches are much higher with free Gmail accounts. Free emails like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and Hotmail rely on advertisement and algorithms, which make them prime targets for hackers. You do not want your business or your law firm a victim of sending spam or worse yet adult content to everyone in your address book.
- Free Gmail accounts hurt your brand recognition. As business owners brand, recognition is essential to building a strong foundation of trust with your target market. When you own a business, you should use every opportunity you can to share your company name. A professional email is the most affordable to share your brand. You should want your email address to represent the same message as your website, lobby, and your office.
- Free Gmail accounts use algorithms to read, save, and use your data. When you open up a free Gmail account, you are consenting to Google scanning your data. What Google does with your data can vary. Nonetheless, you can bet your data is being used by Google when you are using a free Gmail account.
- Free Gmail accounts and your employees. Employees who use free Gmail for business are the rightful owners of all the content as far as Google is concerned.
It’s likely free Gmail accounts and lawyers will remain a source of debate among law firms and Bar Associations for a long time to come. I think there’s enough information about how Gmail can and will hurt your brand it’s worth finding another professional way communicate.