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August 26, 2007

"Tip of the Week" - Remote Control Mail to Your Computer

Will the postman be an historical footnote in our children's history lessons?  It appears one company, Earth Class Mail, has taken mail delivery to a whole new level...unopened enevlopes scanned, sent to you via e-mail, you decide if it is to be actually opened and contents scanned.  If you want the contents they then will send it to you via e-mail in PDF format. Or if not opened or opened and unwanted, then it will be shredded and recycled.  (Make sure to check out the video!)  You can have multiple postal addresses with all mail going to one central location for handling as you choose.

Earth Class Mail is expanding its services to allow checks mailed to you to be directly deposited to your account so you can conduct business without a hiccup while you are jetsetting anywhere in the world or travelling from court house to court house.

Security is tight, all mail scanners ex-military with high security clearance. 

What are the ethical considerations of having clients' confidential information being scanned and PDF'd to you?  I would imagine you could opt to just scan the front and have the company forward the package of information unopened so you can scan sensitive documents into your computer yourself.

However, it seems to me it is one very interesting service being offered to solo practitioners to eliminate time-consuming, paper-cluttering, non-essential administrative tasks which is also very earth-friendly and eliminates significant overhead in the form of either your time or that of an administrator.  No more PO Boxes; no more putting your mail on hold or long lines at the post office. Check it out.

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Comments

Dave

Susan,

We are starting to use Remote Control Mail. We're starting as a pilot program with medical records only.

The question of ethical considerations has come up frequently.

To me, this is not a major issue. Law firms hire private investigators, contact lawyers, temps, legal nurse consultants and any manner of outside people to assist them with the case.

There *are* ethical considerations involved, but they are the same problems and have the same solutions as any of the others.

I think disclosure and an acknowledgement from the client that they understand what you are doing to bring better client service.

If there was a truly sensitive matter, I would not use Remote Control Mail to scan that. (However, you can set up rules for the client, or review the envelope cover before the information is open, there are ways to deal with very sensitive information).

Susan Cartier Liebel

Dave,

I think it is an incredible idea if well executed and the issues concerning confidentiality are addressed adequately with the clients.

You will have to keep us posted on your remote mail program, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and client confidentiality issues. Thanks for the great comment.

Anonymous Lawyer

That's pretty neat idea....but what is the turn out time?

Steve Groenier

Susan,
I work for Earth Class Mail and am glad to see the legal community is starting to talk about our service. I did want to clarify one point for your readers about how we delivery their postal mail online. It may seem simple but is actually very important.

Mail envelopes or scans of the contents can only be seen from a password protected secure web site. We do not send any postal mail by email as this would not be secure. We do however use email to send notices about new mail arriving in your Earth Class Mail box.

This is something to watch out for as other services are out there that may look similar to ours but who do send your mail over unsecure email.

Steve Groenier

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