Check Out This Excellent Guide to the Dangers of Metadata

What do Justice Samuel Alito, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the United Nations have in common? They were all embarrassed by the revelation of hidden information they did not know was contained within documents they published. (In Merck’s case, of course, it was much worse than mere embarrassment, as metadata played a key role in establishing their culpability in the Vioxx case.)

Workshare, a leading provider of document management applications, has created an outstanding primer on the dangers of hidden information in electronic documents. With its many examples of real-life, high-profile screw-ups, and its up-to-date reference of legal opinions on metadata liability, it’s worth five minutes of your time.

 Read the Primer here.

And here is another great resource targeted specifically to law firms:

A recent ABA Newsletter article, Is My Document Secure Enough?, which includes a list of metadata removal tools appropriate for a range of law firms from solo and small firms to the AmLaw 100.

While the much of the buzz about digital mishaps has centered on social media in the last few years, the potential for significant problems resulting from “old-fashioned” metadata remains a far greater threat for most attorneys and law firms. Whatever size your firm, you need to have clear policies, and effective, applied procedures in place to protect yourself and your clients.


About the Author

Bill Jawitz, Law Firm Coach and Consultant

Bill Jawitz has been coaching lawyers to become more profitable and enjoy a higher quality of life since 2002.

He can be reached at or at 203.806.1300.

I maintain a deep library of hundreds of best-of-breed checklists, templates, guides, and white papers on every aspect of managing a legal practice and law firm, from lawyer marketing plans, to hiring process checklists, to alternative fee engagement letters.

If you need a quick resource, call me. I’ll send you what I have on the topic free of charge with no strings.

Call for a free consultation (203) 806-1300

Want to learn more?

Have a question? Looking for a Just-In-Time Resource?

Contact Bill Now