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RPM Tip: Documenting electronic communication

Email has become the preferred way lawyers and clients communicate – but are you documenting these communications properly? Here are some common mishaps to avoid:

  • Not saving your email in your document management system or on your server. This is important not only from a document management perspective but also for backup.
  • Filing messages in your email program. While it’s easy to create and use folders in your email program, others who may work on the client file may not have access to them. It also uses hard drive space and may drain network resources. 
  • Failing to establish and follow filing protocols. When we relied on paper, normally the filing task was delegated to staff. With electronic communication, should the lawyer delegate filing to staff? If so, how?
  • Failing to back up your email communication. Many “archive” email communication but this does not mean the email communication has been backed up. If there is a system failure or outage and you have not copied your message elsewhere, you may lose those email messages.

These few tips will help keep your client files organized, current and easily accessible for you and your staff.

If you have any questions on these or any other risk- or practice-related matters, do not hesitate to contact Stacey Gerrard, LIANS Counsel with the Risk and Practice Management Program, at sgerrard@lians.ca or call 902 423 1300 ext. 345.