Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


William DeCoste

First Page



This Note will explore the current body of jurisprudence concerning the discoverability and admissibility of e-mail in both the civil and criminal contexts. Beginning with a brief explanation of the relevant forms of information technology and electronic communication, it will examine the common misconceptions that fuel the ongoing imprudent use of e-mail. It will then trace the development of the case law, from the foundational cases that first confronted electronic evidence to recent precedent specifically addressing the various forms of contemporary e-mail. Federal statutory law regulating the acquisition and use of electronic communications will also be discussed. This Note will then examine the special implications of attorney use of electronic mail to communicate confidential client information. Finally, it will make recommendations concerning how to counsel clients on matters of e-mail policy and liability as well as how attorneys may protect themselves from ethical violations resulting from e-mail use.