The following summarizes Email: Preventing a mailstrom, Insurance Issues: Risk Management, Fall 2009

“Maelstrom: a restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs”
“Mailstrom: where email is the source of that restless, disordered or tumultuous state of affairs”

Email — it’s fast, convenient and, to the dismay of a number of lawyers, also at the centre of a spate of reports to the Lawyers Insurance Fund.

There are many ways in which a lawyer’s use of email has triggered a report, including (read more for details):

  • Wrong address or viewer
  • Right address but no one home
  • Forgetting the basic “r’s” — reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic
  • Missing the legal forest for the email trees
  • Right message for some perhaps, wrong message for others definitely

Incorporating the risk management tips into your personal and firm email routines will help you enjoy the benefits while staying safe from the “mailstrom.” Tips include:

  • Read and proofread messages and print if needed
  • Beware the address field and certain commands
  • Manage urgent, time sensitive or critical matters
  • Letters continue to play a role
  • Meeting (or speaking) may be best
  • Get your client’s consent to communicating by email
  • Remember first principles
  • A final note of caution: Metadata, hackers and other risks

Read more for details.