LSSA publishes e-mail guidelines to assist practitioners to void and manage the risks of electronic communication

June 1st, 2012

By Barbara Whittle

Often e-mails or the documents attached to e-mails will, by the nature of the work done by attorneys, be confidential and, in certain circumstances, it is important that the integrity of the communication or document be protected (ensuring that it cannot be accidentally or maliciously altered). By not protecting the e-mail or attached documents, there is a risk that the attorney’s professional duty of confidentiality may be compromised.

The LSSA’s ‘Management of E-mail Guidelines for South African Law Firms’ highlights the exponential growth of electronic communications globally. The document discusses the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of e-mail governance and management, and proposes an approach that will assist attorneys in addressing some of the more common risks attached to electronic communications and how these may be avoided or managed. The guidelines are supplementary to the previously circulated ‘Information Security Guidelines for South African Law Firms’, 2011 and ‘Protection of Personal Information Guidelines for South African Law Firms’, 2011.

  • The three sets of guidelines can be accessed in the ‘Resource documents for attorneys’ section under the ‘Legal Practitioners’ link on the LSSA website at or on request, by sending an e-mail to

Compiled by Barbara Whittle, communication manager, Law Society of South Africa,

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (June) DR 15.