Letter to the Editor

April 30, 1999

Mathew Sharman, Devonshires

External e-mail was introduced to the firm last year, as a result of wellfounded perception that the provision of legal documents via electronictransmission would both reduce the cost of the service provided and expedite theprovision of service to the benefit of our clients.

Since its introduction, we have experienced an exponential growth in thetransmission of documents and letters of advice, largely as a response to ourclients whom have also availed themselves of the facility of e-mail.

It remains my concern, and the concern of the partners, that the aspect ofconfidentiality of transmission remains unresolved, both in terms of the wideravailability of documents by the receiver but also the additional risk ofexposure to unauthorised access to the firms network. The third risk, that ofthe circulation of unwarranted documents throughout the practice, and thepossibility of their transmission subsequently outside the firm (and therebyfranchised by Devonshires), is also of concern particularly if these documentsare salacious or derogatory.

I am responsible for the regulation of risk management for Devonshires and asa result I would appreciate guidance as to the stance which readers wouldrecommend or, if possible, an indication as to the source of current literaturethat would assist in ensuring our practice follows recommended practices for thesector.

[E-mail replies to Mathew.Sharman@devonshires.co.ukor to the Co-ordinating Editor.]