Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Winter 2018 - Page 42

Email and Lawyers By Gene Melchionne, Esq. Law Offices of Eugene S. Melchionne Waterbury, Connecticut First, a Little History (The Waiting is the Hardest Part) I t has been said that modern lawyers live in their email. Email is an integral backbone of NACBA. The new communities work to form the main way our members interact with one another. As a lawyer with a mostly virtual practice, I do not meet with my clients more than a few times; an initial conference, execution of the petition, and the 341 hearing. Some NACBA members I know have cut that down to only two sessions. The rest of the time, communications are done by email. I train my clients not to call the office or show up at the front door without an appointment simply to ask questions or to chat. It wasn’t always that way, but the need for efficiency in in this time of declining filings and revenues made it necessary. Older NACBA members may remember the days before Internet access was available. In the early days, you would have a subscription to a service like CompuServe or Prodigy and a handful of others. They were text-based and consisted of an online bulletin board where messages were posted for all to read. As part of the service, you received an “email” address where responses to your messages could be directed. Although AOL (America Online) brought the graphical interface into the mix, initially it also operated this way. Although I no longer pay for AOL access (does anyone?), I have retained my early AOL email address. I rarely check it, but you can still message me 42 CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL at GeneM6@aol.com. As the Internet became public and access got easier, the telephone companies and others got into the business of granting access to the network of computers that form the Internet. These companies are generally known as ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Using a browser, you can surf from one web site to another using the linking in the hypertext protocol (the http in the beginning of most web addresses). But the World Wide Web is not email. A web site can open a window into an email service, but all you are looking at is the email stored on another computer also connected to the Internet, but not the email itself. You may be able to read that email and respond to it, but the email resides on that other computer. Does anyone see a privacy or security issue with that? The email address you received when you signed up for internet access is generally assigned by the provider. They consist of two parts; the user name and the domain name. The domain name tells the computers connected to the internet where to send the mail (“the town”) and the user name tells the receiving computer where to direct the email (“your street address”). After leaving CompuServe and AOL back in the late 80’s, I signed up for internet access with my local telephone company, Southern New England Telephone. The email address assigned to me was eugene. melchionne@snet.net, an address that Winter 2018 I retain to this day. Depending on your contract, you could create additional email addresses as well, presumably to service other members of your household. Among others, I also maintain rubberduckeetoo@snet.net which was the name of my last boat. SNET no longer exists, but through a series of mergers and acquisitions, these email addresses currently reside with Yahoo. Computer companies got into the mix of offering email services and they maintain multiple domains and services usually free of charge. That is how a SNET.net address becomes part of Yahoo. It’s all free, and as one of my brothers likes to say, “Free is free and that’s for me”. Google, Apple and Microsoft all began to understand that providing a free email service and email addresses was an easy way to draw users into their other services, some of which cost real money. You can contact me at melchionne@mac. com or emelchionne@gmail.com, among others. (It’s that free thing again.) I don’t maintain a hotmail.com or outlook.com address and my usage of gmail.com is severely limited these days. With so many people utilizing the free services, you can imagine that memorable email addresses are rarer to find. And until recently, services like Google scanned your email for advertising purposes and questions of security and confidentiality for all of the services are rampant. Like Equifax, Yahoo just announced that all of its National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys