• Legal Practice Management

    Posted on July 6th, 2011

    Written by Bryan

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    Do you have pre-printed envelopes? When you ordered them did you stop to think about which envelopes to buy? Maybe not. There are lots of great envelope options. Some basic envelope features include: Size, Paper, Security, Seal, Windows. Here are my thoughts on each feature, and my preferred envelope choice.

    Size. The most common envelope is the No. 10 and it fits letter size sheets folded by thirds. My problem with this envelope size it that I find it difficult to consistently fold documents into thirds, it takes time and patience, and then the documents have strange folds that make them more difficult to scan. My solution, is the booklet envelope, and a 6 x 9 envelope can be stuffed with documents folded in half. This is much easier than thirds, and the documents flatten much nicer when removed. Be warned, if you go any larger than 6 1/8 inch, the envelope will no longer qualify for USPS letter rate, and the large envelope rate starts at $0.88 for 1 ounce letters. You can order size A10 (6×9.5) envelopes and still be within the letter rate, and these are great if you tend to send larger documents. Also, because this size is less common, I think it makes your letters stand out among the stack of mail filled with No. 10 envelopes.

    So, the 6×9 booklet is a great envelope. But, you really need two envelopes, the second being a full 9×12 size for larger documents. You can buy these in booklet style (opens on the long end), or open ended style (opens on the short end.) This is a matter of personal preference, but I generally buy the open-ended envelopes.

    Bryan’s Recommendation: 6 x 9 Booklet Envelopes, and 9 x 12 Open Ended Envelopes.

    Paper. While there are many choices for paper style and color, and probably no wrong answers, you need to first ask this question: How do I address my envelopes? Do you hand write your envelopes, print labels, prefer window envelopes, or print directly onto the envelope? I am a fan of directly printing onto the envelope, but I know lots of firms that use labels. Otherwise, the important paper characteristics are color, texture/weight, and ink acceptance.

    Color is important because if you are going to hand write or print onto the envelope you need a light colored envelope to ensure the ink stands out. If your firm has a brand identity, then consider a compatible, or complementary, color, but you might consider a lighter shade. You can’t go wrong with white.

    Texture and weight is about personal preference. Generally, very lightweight envelopes (less than 24 lb.) will feel cheap. Very heavy envelopes may increase your postage costs.

    Ink acceptance is important if you will be printing onto the envelope. Some envelopes will accept laser printing or ink jet printing better than others. The only way to know for sure is to test a sample envelope. Try to obtain some samples that you can mock up or test print.

    Security/Windows. I would caution against window envelopes because that provides a window to the contents of your letter, which can be a security problem. You can also get envelopes with a security lining. While confidentiality is important, it can also be good for marketing to show your clients that you take that extra step to ensure their confidentiality.

    Use caution before you buy high security Tyvek¬ģ envelopes, they gather static electricity and do not accept printing or stickers well, and you may be stuck using a permanent marker.

    Seal. Lick ’em or Stick em? These are the basic options, either a gummed flap you lick (or moisten) to seal, or a sticker-style flap where you peel off the cover and then fold the flap pressing the sticky part to the envelope. There is also a type of “self-sealing” envelope that does not have a cover on the sticky part and you just press the sticky part to the envelope. In my experience self-seal envelopes are not as reliable and frequently require extra tape to ensure a secure seal. My preference is the peel and seal style, but I find it hard to find them in inventory and it can be expensive to order custom envelopes. If you are stuck with the gummed flap lickable envelopes buy a sponge.

    Where to buy: I don’t get a cut of this, so I don’t have any strong preference. Start with your custom printer, who did you use for letterhead and business cards? There are many great choices online such as: Action Envelope (6×9, 9×12), Envelopes.com (6×9, 9×12), and others.

    Final tip: Put your logo and website in the return address! While the post office doesn’t need this to return mail to you, it is a chance for everyone who touches the envelope to find your firm. You could even consider a QR code on the outside, or other creat

    What do you think? Tell me about your firm envelopes and post a picture of the most creative envelope you

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    This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 5:53 pm and is filed under Legal Practice Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • 1 Comment

    Take a look at some of the responses we have had to this article.

    1. Jul 7th

      Bryan, you have done some thinking and research about this, and I like your conclusions about your own preferences. I think I will invest in some 6×9″ envelopes.

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