Five Reasons to Stop Using Email to Collaborate About Claims Litigation
Why it is no longer the most effective way to communicate and what are better options.
By Wesley Todd
A blinking light, a steady vibration, a soft ding. You probably recognize all of these as notifications that a new email message has arrived. These incessant alerts keep you shackled to your phone and computer from sunrise to sundown, serving as a constant distraction.
As you may have guessed, you are not alone. According to technology market research firm Radicati Group Inc., the number of emails sent and received per day totaled more than 205 billion in 2015. It says this figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of three percent over the next four years.
As claims and litigation professionals, we use email to communicate and collaborate with our outside attorneys about ongoing actions, but we all know that it’s no longer the most effective way to communicate and collaborate. Here are five reasons why we should stop using email to collaborate about claims litigation matters.
1. Emailing With Your Attorney Is Expensive
Each time you exchange an email with your outside counsel, you start the clock running on hundreds of dollars per hour. If we make a fair assumption that a quarter, or even a tenth, of your attorney’s work is spent reviewing, analyzing, and drafting emails, consider how much you may be spending on email. Once you acknowledge how expensive it is, consider whether email is the most effective and efficient way to communicate about litigated claims.
2. Email Promotes Procrastination
In most inboxes, all emails have the fundamental right to equality. Regardless of its level of priority or urgency, all emails have the right to enter your inbox the same way as any other email: at the top. Unfortunately, no constitutional amendment can resolve an email’s right to equality. If you are handling these messages as they come in, you are guilty of procrastination. Instead of handling the most important task at this very moment, you are meandering through your inbox. Close your inbox and identify the most essential task you can be doing right now.
3. Email Is Reactive
The nature of email drives a reactive approach to work. Many times, we open our inbox with a specific objective in mind, but then we get caught up in responding to messages that are completely unrelated to our original objective. If you think about it, substantial work rarely happens in email. To accomplish the objectives of your claims litigation department, such as resolving claims and cases, it is important to move from a reactive to a proactive approach. To do so, we must break the pattern of checking email regularly to react to whatever appears in our inboxes.
4. Email Is Not Private or Secure
Most emails about claims litigation are privileged and confidential. Yet email is not private or secure. Consider just some of the ways that your email can end up in the wrong hands:
- The recipient loses his phone and someone is able to gain access to his email.
- The recipient uses a nonprivate Wi-Fi network at Starbucks and someone accesses his emails while he is drinking his latte.
- Your iCloud account is hacked.
When you read this list, you probably didn’t flinch because you already know about the vulnerabilities of email. Yet this will not stop you from sending a privileged email later today. Ultimately, the problem is not that you are deceived into thinking your email is secure, but rather that you continue to use email to communicate about privileged and confidential matters even though you are aware of the risks.
5. Email Is Not an Effective Document Management Tool
Although we may not realize it, we all use email as a document management tool. Most of us have folder upon folder (and subfolder upon subfolder) filled with documents, pleadings, and other information about our claims and cases. Email, however, is not an effective document management tool.
When a litigated claim is complete, your email folders and subfolders house most of the important information about that case. However, that information can be routinely archived, or you may leave the company, which makes that information inaccessible or difficult to retrieve. In addition, documents saved in email folders and subfolders are not searchable, sortable, or reportable. If you replace email and Word documents with customized fields for collaboration, you can turn facts about the case into predictive analytics that you can continue to access for years to come.
Hopefully, this list will convince you to consider alternatives to email, such as a collaborative online software tool that optimizes the litigation process. This will allow you to spend more time on the key part of your job: efficiently and effectively resolving claims. You also will be able to control how the information is shared instead of risking leaked privileged information. A collaborative online tool also will enable you to take valuable information that is being stored in your inbox and turn it into actionable analytics that will deliver results for your company.