How many times have you sent an important email to opposing counsel and not received a reply? Or sent a bill to a client that he or she claimed never to have received? Do you just want confirmation that that really important memo was sent to the court by the deadline and received? Throughout my legal career I have experienced all these situations and more, and always wished there was a way to effectively track whether email was received and read. And it turns out there is.


ReadNotify is a service that sends you a report as soon as an email has been opened, including the date and time of opening and a likelihood of where it was opened. I pay $3.99 per month to track up to 350 emails with a boatload of features, including a breakdown of activities for each reader (if it was sent to multiple people), warnings if the email is deleted without reading it, certified proof-of-posting digital signatures, and even self-destructing email (cue Mission: Impossible music). And unlike some other read receipt email programs, ReadNotify does not require the recipient to take any actions to send the receipt to you, so you don’t have to worry about whether a disorganized opposing counsel is interested in letting you know he received the message. It also doesn’t embed graphics into the email to track the message—like SpyPig or WhoReadMe—which can be a problem if the recipient does not allow graphics to appear in his or her email. You can explore some of the alternative email tracking services, but I have yet to find a silent tracking service that is as reliable as ReadNotify and also provides certified read receipts.

As a subscriber, I also get a browser plugin and software that allows me to easily select which emails are tracked and which are not, so I don’t track all the email I send, which would be completely unnecessary.

Once the tracked email has been received and opened, you will receive a confirmation email. Here is a PDF of a confirmation I received (with personal information redacted).

Now when that not-so-friendly opposing counsel claims he never received the demanded information and will be moving forward with a hearing, you can show him and the judge that he did, in fact, receive it. Or you can remind that forgetful client of yours that he has received the bill three times.

In the legal profession, documentation is everything. And although documentation of documentation might seem like overkill, it’s nice to know that you can prove the receipt and reading of that communication. If you don’t want to go for the whole kit and kaboodle right away, ReadNotify offers a free trial that ends after the earlier of either 2 weeks or 25 emails. And for firms with more than one attorney, ReadNotify offers business accounts (with priority technical support), and will take care of the registration process if you need more than 10 sub-accounts.

I have found the ability to track and confirm receipt of email to provide invaluable peace of mind for my most important correspondence and document sending, and for only $3.99 a month I will be using it for a long time.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mysza/4084440851/)