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

Paper still exists in eDiscovery

November 8th, 2016

Like it or not, paper documents still exist in most discovery exercises !

A recent post by leading eDiscovery Consultant Terry Harrison provided some great insights into the importance of managing paper properly. I have known Terry for many years, as he previously ran one of the leading litigation support providers in the UK. He is now working at raising the awareness of eDiscovery in South Africa.

The article highlighted to me that we can lose sight that there is still a lot of paper. Probably a lot more than we talk about, as we prefer to focus more on sophisticated technologies that are now available, together with primarily electronic data.

New Zealand is no different to what Terry has encountered in South Africa as I still find significant volumes of paper in the discovery process.

Let’s park the merits of whether the information may be available in an electronic format. [Obviously, this should always be your first consideration].

Paper may be all your client has

Many lawyers only have the hard copy readily available to them, and for many reasons they cannot always get the electronic material. Sure, it is important to get in early to ensure information is collected and managed efficiently, but sometimes it is just not possible or you may be dealing with historic paper material (which can be common in some litigation, especially construction matters).

I try and advise lawyers to engage me early in the process, but sometimes the reality is other pressing issues of the case just do not make this possible. They frequently turn their mind to discovery very late in the process.

It is not uncommon to get the call when the discovery deadline is nearly due (or even overdue !).

Paper may be all you want

The other issue (which we often fail to mention), is there are still lawyers out there that prefer paper. Many can also be reluctant to use technology full stop. If you do choose to or have to work with paper there are ways that we can make this more efficient and cost effective.

Just as with electronic information, it is important that we explore options to manage paper more efficiently, as paper has not and maybe will not disappear !



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