Not Checking E-Mail Costs Lawyer $35,000

Last month a lawyer in Philadelphia lost his right to pursue a $35,000 fee claim because he did not receive electronic notice of the scheduled arbitration.  The ruling is on appeal, so there is a small chance the lawyer will ultimately be able to argue his claim.  In the meantime, take heed:  if you practice in e-Court, you must learn the technology. 

In the Philadelphia case, the lawyer relied on his wife, who was also his secretary, to retrieve and read e-mail.  When she broke her arm and was out of the office for an extended period, the lawyer simply allowed e-mail to accumulate.  He made no alternative arrangements to retrieve e-mail, failed to hire a temporary secretary during his wife’s absence, and did not know how to use Philadelphia’s e-court system to view upcoming docket activity.  To further aggravate matters, the lawyer did not inform the court of his inability to access e-mail.

I have written before about e-Court best practices and the perils of sticking your head in the sand.  Watch this blog next Tuesday for an important reminder about spam filters and e-Court.

Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis

Note:  To obtain the six-page opinion in the Philadelphia case, reference Knox v. Patterson, PICS No. 11-0256, available from Pennsylvania Law Weekly.  Many thanks to Amaris Elliott-Engel who broke this story on The Legal Intelligencer in her post Not Checking E-Mail Costs Attorney the Right to Arbitrate February 16, 2011.

2 thoughts on “Not Checking E-Mail Costs Lawyer $35,000

  1. Pingback: Paralegal Blaw Blaw Blaw » Blog Archive » The $35,000 E-Mail Double Ouch

  2. Pingback: Running a Successful Law Practice « Oregon Law Practice Management

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