One of my law school classmates posted another lawyer’s out-of-office email for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Facebook. It reads “Unfortunately, the firm is closed on Monday.”

It’s quite likely the lawyer in question did not mean to call “unfortunate” his or her firm’s decision to honor the birthday of a great American like Martin Luther King, Jr. It was probably the last thing he or she did before leaving the office Friday night, and I doubt much thought went into it. In fact, I’m sure more than one lawyer has used this message. But the phrasing is most definitely unfortunate.

I hate out-of-office auto-replies, in general. They are annoying far more often than they are useful, which is why all of the ones I get are automatically deleted. But if you are going to use an auto-reply, take a moment when drafting it to make sure it is appropriate.

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