Dangers of Email

By Attorney Gregg Herman
October 11, 2013

One of the major changes in the practice of law during my career has been the use of email.  While it has many advantages, there are some dangers.

One of those dangers is highlighted in a story today from the ABA weekly newsletter where a “well known lawyer” from Nebraska (and former state bar president) apparently inadvertently copied two appellate court judges on an email in which he criticized the court’s questions during oral arguments.  Oops!

The good thing about email is its efficiency.  No more playing telephone tag.  It can be written without a secretary and copied to numerous people with a simple click.  It can be read and replied to at the convenience of the recipient.

One might think that it’s simple to look at the “to” line before sending out an email, but apparently not so much.  It is fairly common to see a “reply all” when  a simple “reply” would have been much easier.  I don’t know if that was the case with the Nebraska attorney, but it seems likely.  The results can be quite embarrassing.

Similarly, when a lawyer has clients with the same first name – or someone else in his or her contact list – it is easy to mistakenly send an email to wrong person.  Embarrassing, but not compared to the Nebraska attorney.

The advantages of email exceed its dangers.  But this story serves as a good reminder to beware of those dangers.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman, LLC in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.