It is the season of giving thanks in the U.S. While I have many things to be thankful for, including great friends and my family, none of those make for a good Law Practice Tips blog post.

So let me pick an unlikely candidate for my thanks and choose an application you may have already cursed at least once this week. Yes, let’s give thanks for e-mail. (I can hear the rumblings now from those dealing with overflowing inboxes, balky spam filters and clients who are calling saying "Why didn’t you return my e-mail from half an hour ago?")

Let’s give thanks for universal e-mail. You youngsters may not remember the days when AOL e-mail meant only to other AOL users and you could not e-mail those on CompuServ. Just remain quiet while we old-timers raise a toast to FidoNet.

I am thankful that e-mail lets me easily stay in contact with good friends in places like Toronto, Canada or Washington, D.C. or Montgomery, AL at essentially no cost. It may be difficult to build a relationship just with e-mail, but you can nourish one with it.

I am thankful I no longer have to deal with envelopes, postage and, sometimes, Federal Express to send a paper or presentation materials across the country.

I am thankful that people who are inclined to share their wisdom with me can easily do so, by clicking "attach file" and send, instead of having to decide if it is worth the trouble to mail me a copy.

I am thankful for electronic mailing lists that allow me to tap the collective wisdom of many others. (And I’m really thankful for my GMail account to manage my electronic mailing lists.)

So, even though we hate spam, mysterious attachments we can’t or shouldn’t open, e-mail from people who obviously have too much time on their hands and getting a joke for the 5th time via e-mail, we can even be thankful for this simple business tool.