Withers latest to drop ‘Dear Sirs’ in emails

Reminds workers to use ‘gender neutral’ salutations as an alternative

Withers is the latest regulation agency to drop using gendered language similar to ‘Dear Sirs’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ in written correspondence, choosing “gender neutral” salutations as an alternative.

In an electronic mail to UK attorneys final week, Withers mentioned: “When writing to a firm or company the use of ‘Dear Sirs’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ should generally be avoided (although there may still be instances where it is appropriate).”

It continued: “It is usually preferable to use the name of the firm, company or partnership e.g. Dear Withers, and this is increasingly seen as an acceptable form of address. When writing to an individual, instead of Dear Sir/Madam consider whether you could write to them by name.”

The e-mail served as a reminder to all workers. Withers’ general-neutral drafting steerage dates again to 2020 and is accessible on the agency’s intranet ‘Within’ for all workers.

Almost half (47%) of Withers’ UK partnership is made up of ladies.

Withers associate Katharine Landells shared on LinkedIn this week her expertise with gendered addresses. “I spend a lot of my professional time writing letters — and it’s time to move on from ‘Dear Sirs’,” she mentioned. “It’s unnecessarily gendered, perpetuates discrimination and bias, and it’s dehumanising.”

Landells posted a screenshot of an electronic mail request she made to not use ‘Dear Sirs’ on correspondence she obtained in relation to a latest case. “[I]n this case, it seems particularly pertinent given that the people working on this matter all identify as female,” she mentioned.

Withers joins Freshfields, Quinn Emanuel and Clifford Probability in shaking off the authorized sector’s fusty picture and dropping using gendered language in emails.

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