Over the last few years, having everything on-line was becoming more of the norm. I know our offices have started having our documents stored as PDFs on our system and including in our Discovery Plan the exchange of documents electronically. For the bigger volume documents, we utilize OneDrive to send our documents. We also started to make sure that every pleading, Motion Record or Court document was also on our system electronically.
For the exchange of documents, for the most part other law firms would come on board and be amenable to having electronic delivery of documents, however, there were still the few who just couldn’t facilitate the exchange. What did this mean for the client? This meant higher disbursements being incurred for the extra copies that had to be made, binding, tabbing and couriering.
While we started saving electronically before this interesting year of 2020, we still kept in mind the need to ensure paper copies were being produced. For example, attending at Discovery with physical bound copies of the documents, as well electronic copies on a computer. Why would a lawyer do this? When examining a party, you will want to make sure parties are looking at the document that you are referring to, and not a document on another lawyer’s laptop. I’m surprised to hear that some lawyers would only come with an electronic copy, which would only cause confusion and uncertainty as to the document and delay Discoveries.
Having adopted the electronic versions of our documents before 2020, the transition has been minimal for us. As many of you know, the Courts have now allowed video hearings of matters and Court Reports are conducting Discoveries and Examinations via video conferences. I feel that we may have been a bit ahead of the game (no we did not know what was going to happen) and we can ensure our clients that we are doing everything we can to move their matter along, to the extent that the Courts are allowing. Maybe we will see a big shift with electronic delivery and storing in the future.
Christine Allan, Law Clerk