Question: Do email legal disclaimers provide any legal protection?

Answer: Probably not. Do you remember Dash, the boy in the movie The Inredibles? At one point in the movie he says “if everyone is special, then nobody is special.” The same is true with emails. If every email is special, then no email is special. Plus the disclaimer is normally placed at the end of the email. A person has to read all of the confidential information before getting to the disclaimer. At that point does anyone ever read the disclaimer. I did a search of caselaw and didn’t find one case where a disclaimer provided any legal protection. So in the end, the disclaimer might provide a teeny tiny bit of protection.

But there’s a better way of doing things. Before you send an email, think to yourself “is this confidential?” If it is, then add “Confidential” or “Confidential: Delete if you’re not the intended recipient” in the subject line. If you’re sending an email to your lawyer, then mark it “confidential & privileged” or something like that. This approach might actually protect the communications in court. Of course you should always follow company policy and seek legal advice for your specific situation.