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The Virtues of Fielding, by Craig Ball, Ball In Your Court


I am a member of the typewriter generation. With pencil and ink, we stored information on paper and termed them ‘documents.’ Not surprisingly, members of my generation tend to think of stored information in terms of tangible and authoritative things we persist in calling ‘documents.’ But unlike use of the word ‘folder’ to describe a data directory (despite the absence any folded thing) or the quaint shutter click made by camera phones (despite the absence of shutters), couching requests for information in discovery as demands for documents is not harmless skeuomorphism.  The outmoded thinking that electronically stored information items are just electronic paper documents makes e-discovery more difficult and costly. It’s a mindset that hampers legal professionals as they strive toward competence in e-discovery.

Does clinging to the notion of ‘document’ really hold us back? . . .