DATELINE: BOSTON, MA
Never underestimate the power of the written word - particularly if it is in
an email. Emails have become so deeply embedded in today's business culture
that little thought is given to the fact that they leave an electronic
footprint that in litigation terms is akin to leaving DNA evidence at the
scene of a crime.
"Judges are more and more willing to accept emails into evidence at a
trial," notes Kerry T. Ryan, Esq. of Tarlow, Breed, Rodgers, P.C. in Boston,
who handles complex litigation matters for the firm. "Disputes that once
revolved around 'he said/she said' versions of conversations are now often
quickly and decisively confirmed or denied through the introduction of email
evidence. Surprisingly, many business people remain unaware of the lasting
nature of their email communications."
We've all heard the stories... An employee dashes off an email to a colleague,
complaining about a customer or a fellow employee minutes later, the
message has been shared with the entire company and even forwarded outside
the company to its competitors. Or, a project manger emails a client to
say, "Sorry, we screwed up!" The project manager intends this to be a
private communication, a quick apology to maintain good relations with his
counterpart at the customer¹s office, not a legal admission of guilt by his
employer, as it might be interpreted a year later when the email reemerges
as evidence in a legal dispute.
"Since emails can offer quick confirmation of concerns or doubts about a
person's performance, a project's completeness, or a vendor's error, it's
wise for businesses to periodically review their approach to the use of
emails," Ryan remarked. "It seems that common sense often gives way to
expediency in email communications a flaw that can be easily remedied by
considering the following tactics for business emails."
Basic Business Email Practices 101:
- Never send an email when you're angry or tired
- Don¹t take the bait by instantly responding to a nasty email observe the
24 hour rule
- Don¹t use sarcasm it's often difficult to tell whether it¹s sarcasm or
- Be professional off the cuff comments may not be construed as they were
- Take time to reflect on the content of what you're writing, just as you
would with a letter
- Proofread your emails misspelling and poor grammar reflect back on your
- Think before you hit reply are you actually confirming receipt of
negative content? If in doubt, compose a new email
- Limit access to your email password
- Eliminate previous threads prior emails at the bottom of new emails may
contain information that you don't want to share with the latest recipient,
particularly if later forwarded to others
And most importantly, before you hit "send," think about what your email
would look like as it is blown up and shown to a room full of strangers in a
About Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C.
Formed in 1991, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. is committed
to providing high quality, comprehensive legal services to its clients.
Featuring a breadth and depth of experience and perspective usually
found only at larger law firms, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers. P.C.
offers sophisticated legal counsel to entrepreneurs, businesses,
individuals, families, and institutions.
Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers’ areas of expertise
include corporate law, employment matters, mergers and acquisitions,
litigation and dispute resolution, estate planning, taxation, real
estate, bankruptcy, and municipal law.
The offices of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C.
are located at 101 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Center, in Boston, MA
02199. For additional information, or to arrange for a consultation,
please call 1-617-218-2000, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.tbhr-law.com.