Hidden Information in Your Legal Documents
Commonly known as metadata, this is information that may be stored in your document (whether it's a Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint file) when you create, save, or open a file. As a lawyer constantly dealing with soft documents and sensitive information, you should be aware of the risks involved in the inadvertent storing and potential sharing of this information with either opposing counsel or the courts. Whether it is documents shared through discovery or a motion/brief that was previously marked up and being sent to opposing counsel, today's attorney should be careful in inadvertently providing third parties at best gratuitous data and at worst disadvantageous information.
Metadata does serve a useful purpose; it adds functionality to editing, viewing, filing and retrieving capabilities of your documents. You may be wondering what are some concrete examples of metadata in a word file for example. Examples include: your name (author), your initials, your company name, computer name, network server name or hard disk where filed was saved, names of prior document authors, document revisions, template information, hidden text or cells, personalized views, comments, and other files and summary information.
There are a number of options available to avoid sharing metadata information. PDFs don't show hidden metadata so converting files to be submitted to court or opposing counsel will fix the issue. If you'd like to send a word document, there are a number of ways to remove certain information based on what you would like to remove. See the table below for some practical steps to take:
Come have a chat with Nora, your legal concierge at Nora.Legal to learn more.