In a post last week, I mentioned that Illinois rules require the production of electronic information in printed form. Sometimes this rule might be beneficial: for example, lawyers who are not even thinking about electronically-stored information when they send a discovery request should receive the requested information anyway, despite their lack of forethought.
However, the rule also creates problems. A relatively small amount of electronically-stored information might equate to truckloads of documents when printed out on paper, as I also mentioned last week. This is one reason why lawyers might specifically request electronic information to be produced in electronic format. Here are some others:
- Electronic information can often be searched electronically;
- Electronic information can be manipulated electronically, making it possible to analyze the information in ways that are not possible in printed form;
- Electronic information will often include earlier versions and drafts of important documents that you would not receive otherwise;
- Electronic information might include relevant data ("metadata") that is not accessible in printed form.
For this reason, you should always enter into a dialogue with the opposing attorney about how relevant electronic information will be produced. If it is going to be produced in a way that hampers your ability to prepare your case, you should seek the intervention of the court if you cannot work out your dispute by agreement.
Source note: Some of the bulleted items are from a presentation on electronic discovery by Robert Kenner at the 2005 ATLA summer convention.