Have you ever noticed that everyone seems to have a different disclaimer and confidentiality notice which they use on emails and fax cover sheets?  I recently began collecting the forms which come to me through email via direct email, list serves, or other sources.  Needless to say, they vary widely in form.

When I returned to the legal profession in 2008, I was shocked that the small firm I worked for had no “uniform” disclaimer which everyone in the firm used.  I was told to pick one I liked and start using it.  If the disclaimer form is of any use, then it deserves a little time and attention.

Here are some samples I have collected.  I am withholding names because I do not want to point fingers at anyone – good or bad.  Let’s just take a look at the forms we are using, discuss the pros and cons, and examine whether we need to make some changes.  Note the differences in font style, i.e., all caps, partial caps, no caps.

Disclaimer 1:
This message, as well as any attached document, contains information from the law office of [ATTORNEY NAME] that is confidential and privileged, or may contain attorney work product. The information is intended only for the use of the addressee named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this email or attached documents, or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited, and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please (1) immediately notify me by reply email, (2) do not review, copy, save, forward, or print this email or any of its attachments, and (3) immediately delete and destroy this email, its attachments and all copies thereof. Unintended transmission does not constitute waiver of the attorney-client privilege or any other privilege.

Disclaimer 2:
THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO WHOM, OR ENTITY TO WHICH, IT IS ADDRESSED ANY MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.

Disclaimer 3:
THIS E-MAIL MESSAGE IS FROM A LAW FIRM AND IS INTENDED SOLELY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL(S) OR ENTITY TO WHOM IT IS ADDRESSED AND MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.  IF YOU BELIEVE YOU RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY, DELETE THE E-MAIL FROM YOUR COMPUTER AND DO NOT COPY OR DISCLOSE IT TO ANYONE ELSE.  IF YOU ARE NOT AN EXISTING CLIENT OF OURS, DO NOT CONSTRUE ANYTHING IN THIS E-MAIL TO MAKE YOU A CLIENT UNLESS IT CONTAINS A SPECIFIC STATEMENT TO THAT EFFECT AND DO NOT DISCLOSE ANYTHING TO US IN REPLY THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT US TO HOLD IN CONFIDENCE.  IF YOU PROPERLY RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL AS A CLIENT, CO-COUNSEL OR RETAINED EXPERT OF OURS, YOU SHOULD MAINTAIN ITS CONTENTS IN CONFIDENCE IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE OR WORK PRODUCT PRIVILEGE THAT MAY BE AVAILABLE TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY.

Disclaimer 4:
THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO WHOM, OR ENTITY TO WHICH, IT IS ADDRESSED ANY MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE  LAW.

Disclaimer 5:
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email and any documents, files or previous email messages attached to it may contain information that is confidential or legally privileged and is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient, do not
read, print, or save this email. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution of this email, its contents or the attachments, is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended
recipient, please contact the sender by telephone or reply email and destroy the original, any attachments and all copies without reading or saving.

Disclaimer 6:
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE:  This email is protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. Sections 2510-2511 and is legally privileged.  It may be protected by the attorney-client or work product privileges or contain inside information, and unauthorized use is prohibited.  If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender by replying to this email and then delete it from your computer.

Disclaimer 7:

This email may contain material that is confidential, privileged and/or attorney work product for the sole use of the intended recipient.  Any unauthorized review, use, or distribution is prohibited and may be unlawful.

IRS Circular 230 notice:  Any tax advice contained herein was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by you or any other person (i) in promoting, marketing or recommending any transaction, plan or arrangement or (ii) for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under federal tax law.

Environmental messages:

  • Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

It appears that the usual disclaimer forms vary somewhat according to the practice area of law.  I would love to have your comments on the above forms.  Would you be willing to share your favorite disclaimer form for email and/or fax covers?  If so, send it to me via email at [email protected] (please designate subject line as “Disclaimer Form Submission”).  I will publish any additional forms received.

Have a great week!

2 thoughts on “PARALEGAL TIDBIT: Disclaimer forms deserve our attention.

  1. Hi Cathy,

    I found your blog and am interested if you have discovered any disclaimers specifically designed for paralegals. I am aware that everything we do is held to the same standards as an attorney as far as confidentiality and privilege etc., but I was more interested in the ethical concerns of a paralegal regarding the giving of legal advice. I am often responding to people requesting advice, and I always second guess any answer I give, however mundane, to ensure it does not come off as advice. I would love it if there were something that has the basic premise like ” I am not an attorney, and anything I say should not be construed as legal advice.” Have you come across anything like this?

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