Although it’s very important to our legal business, our clients should also be familiar with the concept of “metadata” and word processing documents. When you create a document on a computer using software, such as Word or Word Perfect, you will often make changes and edits from an initial draft to the final draft. Those changes and edits are still lurking in the computer background of the file.
When you send an electronic version of the document as an attachment, a savvy recipient can “look behind the curtain” of that document and see what changes you have made. If your initial draft used some artful language, or perhaps the document involves a negotiation with specific facts or numbers, you probably don’t want that person to see your prior thinking.
If you find yourself in that situation, familiarize yourself with these metadata situations and make sure you take the proper protections.