Lawyers must beware of agreeing to accept service by email. The things that can go wrong include:
1. Most email systems spam files with multiple attachments, or large attachments from first time senders.
2. Email is often picked up from multiple locations other than the office including cell phones, home computers, or laptops while on a case. It is very easy to forget an email was sent if it is picked up from a location away from one's desk, secretary, and calendar
3. Do you really have a completely electronic office, and is your staff truly proficient in the updating, categorizing, and finding electronic files? If not, you have set yourself up for a massive printing and tabbing exercise if you accept service by email.
4. Email opens you up for fights, misunderstandings, and instant access 24 hours a day. Do you really want that? I have been repeatedly emailed in a harassing manner at a funeral by a lawyer who knew I didn't want the instantaneous cc's because I was at a funeral. During the delivery of my youngest son I received at least ten emails from a lawyer I did not know well.
The dignity and importance of legal filings as well as due process under the law are inconsistent concepts with email service.
If email service is going to be used on a case, a portal such as Case Anywhere should be used. Subscription costs are $135.00 a quarter, per case. These services are useful for class actions, but too expensive for general civil litigation. Portals like Case Anywhere and the Federal Court's system send you an email saying you have been served. You will know an email from the portal means you were served. Moreover, the document will exist on the portal opposed to an email server which might send the document to a spam folder and be deleted in a week or two if you do not know to rescue it.
Karl Gerber, admitted in California, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington D.C.
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