“Reply to All” and other E-mail Gotchas

A recurring “reply to all” ethics issue recently got me thinking again about e-mail. It’s wondrous, magical, essential, and occasionally mysterious and frustrating. It leaves an easily-mined evidentiary trail like paper never could, at least for those without a private e-mail server and a license for BleachBit. It also presents a host of recurring ethical and risk management issues for lawyers.

In 2013 I wrote A Week Without E-mail! describing my firm’s experience and lessons learned when our e-mail abruptly stopped flowing. The focus of that piece was lawyers’ over-dependence on e-mail, and the need to have a personal “Plan B” when things go south. As I observed then, “We have become addicted to Internet e-mail which, for attorneys, turned out to be the ‘Killer App.’” It surely can be from an ethics and risk management standpoint.

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