In Part 1 of this topic I discussed the reasons I like to use email to communicate with clients. Although there are many good reasons to use email for attorney-client communication, one major drawback is the potential lack of confidentiality and loss of your attorney-client privilege. Here are some things to keep in mind for clients who want to use email to communicate with their attorney:
Do not use your email account provided by your employer. If you use your work email account chances are your employer can view your emails as well as whomever your employer uses to maintain the computer network – whether that be outside contractors or fellow employees. Also, you may be violating company policy by using your work email account for personal reasons.
Do not use an email account your children have access to at home. Children of all ages are naturally curious – especially about matters involving their parents. If your password is automatically “saved” by your desktop software (Outlook Express, Outlook, etc.) change the settings to require the password to be entered each time you access your account (and make sure it isn’t a password your child can easily guess).
Do not save attachments to the hard drive your children have access to at home.If you are swapping drafts back and forth, save them to a separate drive or upload them to storage sites online that can be protected with a password.
Do check the recipients of the email before hitting send. If you are forwarding along an email from the opposing party to your attorney, make sure you don’t inadvertently use “reply to all” or “cc” the opposing party – this is particularly worrisome when you are including commentary to the attorney.
Do seriously consider setting up a new web-based email account. A great way to communicate with your attorney from anywhere you have internet access is to use a web based email account. You can start fresh with a new account with a new password and you can also use the email account to store those bothersome attachments referred to above. My personal favorite is Gmail. Other great free services are Yahoo and Hotmail.