Agh. The Rejecter is recovering from the same cold everyone in NYC had last week. The Rejecter is behind. The Rejecter is wondering why she is talking about herself in the third person.
I would be interested to know what your agency's stance is on email, whether you accept email queries or not. Many agent's emails are listed on agents.query even when they don't accept email submissions. I've heard writers having success contacting those agents anyway.
It seems to me that if an agency is really serious about new writers, they ought to be accepting emails rather than snail mail exclusively. I'm disappointed but I think it's great when a well-known agent emails back & says, no thanks. I'd take a quick no over a 3 months of not hearing any day.
Then's there is the question of pasting in a couple pages or a chapter at the bottom of an email query. Some agents request this, others don't. I know etiquette says don't do it if not requested. But if the agent/assistant is on the fence, then the sample may tickle their fancy. If they were going to reject you anyway, they won't bother reading....
The answer to your initial question varies widely from agency to agency. Four or five years ago, when an agent said they weren't taking email queries, it didn't mean they didn't own a computer. It just meant they didn't use it for work and didn't want to. Now most agents do use computers for work - to contact other agents, clients, editors, and whoever. More and more publishing houses are talking to agents through email. More and more revisions of a manuscript are being sent as an email attachment. In a year or two, it will basically become essential for an agent to have a computer in their office and use it for work.
Queries are a different manner. Initially, agents were against them. Sometimes we feel like it's removing that one last barrier between us and unwanted submissions by idiots who haven't thought out their material and haven't researched how to present it. I mean, if you have to print out a letter and pay 39 cents to mail it, you'll probably put some effort into the letter. You also probably won't just query every agency in existence because it costs money, so you'll look into which agents are in which markets and narrow it down to people who are actually interested in your genre.
Most of the queries we get over email (my boss does accept them, and some unscrupulous sites list agents' emails anyway, so every agent gets them) do not stick to form to the point where it becomes obvious that the author has put absolutely no thought into the email and has just summed the book in a paragraph rife with spelling errors like the agent was a casual acquaintance. Plus, we get tons and tons of queries with attachments, which is just fucking annoying, even though every single agent website has "DO NOT USE ATTACHMENTS" like flashing or in bold or in bold and flashing in a floating macro that follows your mouse. Attachments take time to open, because they require a matching program, and we have to scan them for viruses, and for G-d's sakes, just put the text in your email.
The general rule is: If you can find the agent's email address on a major website (like AgentQuery.com), it's safe to send an email query, but be professional about it. And yes, you can put the first couple pages below the text if you want; that's no skin off our backs.