From IPE: Legal Ethics of Email for Paralegals: Email, Retention, and Preservation
Legal Ethics of Email for Paralegals: Email, Retention, and Preservation
Guest Author: James D. Blume
Back it up!
Email should be stored on your firm’s server. But it should be backed up daily, at least. Back up should be to an internal hard drive plus an external hard drive for off-premises storage or storage in the Cloud. But the Cloud presents some special issues. Do you continue to own the data? Do others have access to it? Read your use agreement very carefully. Is the Cloud storage outside the U.S.? Foreign laws may be different.
Deleting is necessary if you get a new device or have undesired emails to eliminate. Be careful, however, as deleting emails may be exfoliation of evidence. If you are in litigation, or threatened litigation, it is definitely improper and can lead to sanctions or other penalties. It helps if your firm has a definite retention policy to timely delete emails (e.g., over a year old). Such a policy is certainly sensible since emails can build up at a ridiculous rate.
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