Don’t Email About “Cooking the Books”

Today's New York Times has a front-page story "4 Accused in Law Firm Fraud Ignored a Maxim: Don't Email" that reminds us of a rule we know well: Don't put anything in writing that you would not want to see on the front page of the NYT, on everyone's screen, or in anyone's Twitter feed. 

According to the NYT story, individuals at the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf used phrases such as "fake income," "accounting tricks, "clueless auditor," and even "cooking the books" in their emails, which are part of the New York prosecutors' 106-count indictment against the four men.

I will not pass judgment on the case or the guilt or innocence of the men. But I will criticize their email intelligence: They should have known better!

Do you see words and information that shouldn't be in the emails that leave your organization? I hope you can speak up against them and make a difference. 

Syntax Training


  1. Yes.

    I’ve been a prosecutor and an inspector general,it amazes me how many people violate your simple rule.

    I much enjoy your efforts here schooling us, the grammatically challenged.

  2. Great advice.

    Using your common sense should be the rule of thumb.

    But we all know that’s the least common of senses.

    Thank you!


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