E-mail can be a tremendous tool for the busy trial lawyer trying to stay in touch with his clients and office. In fact, I LOVE E-mail and I frankly advise new clients that the best way to keep in touch with me is via E-mail for two reasons: (1) E-mail is easy to file in our case management software so I always have ALL the details of the E-mail to refer to as the case progresses, and (2) I respond more quickly to E-mails than I do to the phone (that’s probably a personal quirk of mine but I find myself always turning to my E-mail Inbox first and my Voicemail second– my thinking is that since I have this quirk, it’s better to embrace it and use E-mail than to fight it! 🙂
But E-mail can also be VERY dangerous if not carefully used. A billion dollar oooppppsss by an attorney illustrates the point. A lawyer for the drug company giant, Eli Lilly & Co., was working on a billion dollar drug case. This lawyer had two people named “Berenson” in her Outlook Contacts: one Berenson was co-counsel in the case and the other Berenson was a New York Times reporter.
By now you are probably guessing what happened with a “confidential” E-mail that the lawyer was mailing to her co-counsel regarding a “confidential settlement” that they were working on in the case….. Yup, it got emailed to the Times reporter rather than to her co-counsel. Can you say OOOOPPPPSSSS?
The moral of the story is a simple one: Always, always, always check to make sure that the TO: address in your E-mail is the correct person. For those of you who use Outlook, you may want to consider turning off the Auto-Complete function that automatically inserts an E-mail address as you type the first few characters of the E-mail address. Some people also configure a default Delayed Sending feature in their E-mail program so that ALL emails are automatically delayed a certain period of time– this permits you to delete an E-mail IF you discover your mistake before the E-mail sending time.
The bottom line is Be Careful and Practice Safe Computing. The computer CAN be our best friend or our worst enemy…..
Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529