Was emailing a friend who works for an investment bank and got this SUPER long disclaimer:
Generally, this communication is for informational purposes only and it is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any transaction. In the event you are receiving the offering materials attached below related to your interest in hedge funds or private equity, this communication may be intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of such fund(s). All market prices, data and other information are not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and are subject to change without notice. Any comments or statements made herein do not necessarily reflect those of [BIG BAD BANK], its subsidiaries and affiliates. This transmission may contain information that is privileged, confidential, legally privileged, and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the information contained herein (including any reliance thereon) is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Although this transmission and any attachments are believed to be free of any virus or other defect that might affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus free and no responsibility is accepted by [BIG BAD BANK], its subsidiaries and affiliates, as applicable, for any loss or damage arising in any way from its use. If you received this transmission in error, please immediately contact the sender and destroy the material in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format. Thank you. Please refer to http://www.[BIG BAD BANK].com/disclosures for disclosures relating to UK legal entities.
That’s a pretty bad disclaimer. Most of them are pretty bad and reflect some bad parody of a worser-still contract.
I know I will be pelted with tomatoes for saying this, but email disclaimers can actually be legally important. You can’t use them as a “contract” with the recipient, which is what many people try to do — or wave them as a talisman in the fervent hope that Bad Things will not happen because they are attached to a communication.
However, email disclaimers are very effective (and frequently necessary) in the case where companies are required to mark communications as being covered under a nondisclosure agreement or a confidentiality agreement — as between two companies in a joint venture or research initiative, where they are entrusting each other with trade secrets that neither wants to lose a secrecy claim to. I have an article on legal issues in email disclaimers on my Arborlaw blog that goes into the right reasons and the wrong reasons.
Carol Shepherd, Attorney