The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

Paper is still not going away…yet!

November 26th, 2019

I probably said 5 years ago (maybe longer) that the days of paper are numbered. Sure, there is more electronic material, but paper is still not going away. Often it is not paper itself, but the decisions made by legal professionals to deal with documents in paper format.

Like all aspects of the discovery process it is important to take time at the outset of the matter to consider how you will manage paper. Regardless of whether you have paper or electronic information, we need to continue to explore smarter, more efficient ways to manage the discovery process. Discovery doesn’t always have to be costly and complicated !

Recently, one of my LinkedIn posts about managing paper got me thinking as it gathered considerably more engagement than I expected. Since the post I have had many questions specifically related to managing paper.

A selection of responses include – 

What are some of the practical steps we can do to best provide the paper documents?

Could you help us informing our client of providing the documents electronically?

I thought we couldn’t do anything too more efficient with paper, as I don’t have the time to go down the tech approach

Do we even need to look at the paper files, as we probably have them electronically?

Paper is so burdensome – can you take care of it?

Yes I can manage paper, but there can be better ways to manage paper.

From subsequent conversations, most surprising was those that are still PRINTING documents, SCANNING (those same) documents, and then MANUALLY LISTING the documents. These are usually the same people that then say the discovery process is expensive !

Yes it was five years ago when I wrote about this !

This approach will always be expensive, and often creating additional and unnecessary cost.

Obviously, if the information is available electronically it should always be your first consideration. However, this is not always possible.

Many admit that they should be doing more to manage the documents electronically. Sometimes it is the complication, whilst for others they may only have the hard copy readily available to them and cannot always get the electronic material. Additionally, there are still instances of matters dealing with historic paper material (which can be common in some litigation, especially construction matters). Warehouse archives do still exist for a lot of organisations. Again much of this is often straight off a printer !

All of these may not be ideal, but they are often the cards you are dealt. It is how we respond to the situation that is important. Other occasions, it is simply just turning your mind to the practical requirements far too late in the process.

Even though you may still have paper, you may be surprised of some ‘easy wins’ that can reduce the time and cost of managing your documents. There can be some easy wins with how you can manage paper, just as there is with how electronic documents are managed.

Give me a shout today, to see if I can help simplify your discovery process.



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