10 things not to say in an e-mail

May 21, 2009

A while ago Roger Matus reported in {his blog: http://www.deathbyemail.com/2008/12/10-things-never-to-put-in-email.html} that Elizabeth Charnock, CEO of {Cataphora: http://www.cataphora.com} a, a provider of e-discovery software, had made a list of 10 things which should never be put in an e-mail. (The list is not new, but back in December the SCL did not have a blogging section in which this list could be set out for the benefit of our members.)

1. “I could get into trouble for telling you this, but…”
2. “Delete this email immediately.”
3. “I really shouldn’t put this in writing.”
4. “Don’t tell So-and-So.” Or, “Don’t send this to So-and-So.”
5. “She/He/They will never find out.”
6. “We’re going to do this differently than normal.”
7. “I don’t think I am supposed to know this, but…”
8. “I don’t want to discuss this in e-mail. Please give me a call.”
9. “Don’t ask. You don’t want to know.”
10. “Is this actually legal?”

From time to time I make the point that keyword searches are a rather blunt instrument when litigants try to use automated searches to locate significant documents in a disclosure review. This list rather proves my point as none of these remarks would be easy to locate using a keyword search.

Clive Freedman