Why an email trail can be as dangerous as a hiking trail  

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Although it can seem like a quick and easy measure when in the middle of receiving a plethora of emails to simply forward the email with the words “See Below” or “As per below…” – Avoid the temptation!

Email trails are dangerous, and a long thread may contain information you may not want to have “put out” to your client or the other side.  Further, the language and tone of your emails with colleagues may not be the dialogue you would want the client to see.

Emails with clients can contain confidential, sensitive, and privileged information.  Email trails can increase the risk of giving away sensitive information such as full client instructions to the other side. This can detrimentally impact negotiations between parties and may constitute a breach of your client’s privacy or lead to a potential negligence claim.

Email trails from multiple sources also increase the risk of viruses and the trail could be compromised by phishing scammers which is less likely to be detected by you (as the trail is unlikely to be re-read before being resent). For this reason, it is therefore dangerous to assume you already know what is contained within the trail before forwarding it on.

Best practice for risk management is to always start with a new email, practice professional email etiquette, interpret instructions in your own concise and plain language and think twice before you hit send. It is always a good habit to read your emails several times before sending and to put yourself in the shoes of the receiver and ask yourself – does this make sense?

Do not rush an email and be extra careful with your communications. In any negligence claim or complaints, relevant emails are likely to be discoverable and used as evidence.

Don’t be caught out! You can avoid significant damage to your reputation, business and brand by taking extra care with your email communications and avoid a professional indemnity claim.

Jodie Rasic is a 2023 AIC VIC Committee Member and Principal of Shift Conveyancing.