Don't Put It In Writing

Friends – a thought today about best practices.  There’s quite a bit of news lately in the Cannabis industry about corporate fiduciary duties.  It’s an important topic for a nascent industry, particularly for public companies.

But, I’m not gonna write about fiduciary duties today – it’s a Friday, and who wants to face such boringness on a Friday? (maybe next week) Instead, but in the same vein, a quick practice tip about something not to do. 

You may have seen yesterday’s news about Jeff Bezos’ post on Medium (link) alleging that American Media attempted to extort Bezos.  I’d like to call your attention to the emails from American Media’s lawyer that Bezos includes in his post, which outline the purported threat.

Recommendation - if you’re going to extort someone, don’t do it in writing.*  Indeed, with everything you do in business, try to put as little as possible in writing.  This includes emails, texts, Instagram posts, law firm blogs.  Plus, simply including a lawyer on an email doesn’t magically make it “privileged” and therefore protected from disclosure– the attorney-client privilege, which (very) generally allows certain communications between a lawyer and a client to be kept confidential in a lawsuit, is more limited than you think.  When you’re putting something in writing, always start from the assumption that some lawyer you despise representing someone you despise that’s suing you (and despises you) is going to read your content out in open court to a jury that despises you – that frame of mind should guide how you write everything.

As someone more clever than yours truly once said – the “e” in “email” stands for “evidence”.

Okay – one bit of Cannabis-related news.  Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has a sense of humor: (blog)


*Also, don’t extort anyone.