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With more than 28 million business users of instant messaging worldwide, instant messaging (IM) is already being recognised as a useful communications tool by many in legal circles. Instant messages are basically a chat room for two. Interaction flows rather like a telephone conversation, and even during peak internet usage periods, the delay is rarely more than a couple of seconds. IM allows text messages to appear immediately on a recipient’s computer screen, unlike the e-mail message, which is not real-time and is directed to an inbox, where it remains resident on the company server for retrieval by the recipient. Because the majority of a typical businessperson’s day is spent staring at a computer monitor, workers find IM to be an easy and efficient way to communicate with others, both at the office and when working from home.

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