Sharing Electronic Documents

Publication year1998
Pages113
27 Colo.Law. 113
Colorado Lawyer
1998.

1998, June, Pg. 113. Sharing Electronic Documents




113


Vol. 27, No. 6, Pg. 113

The Colorado Lawyer
June 1998
Vol. 27, No. 6 [Page 113]

Specialty Law Columns
Automation Annotations
Sharing Electronic Documents
by Mark Kolber
C 1998 Mark J. Kolber

Microsoft Word®,1 Corel WordPerfect®,2 Lotus WordPro®,3 and other word-processing programs add efficiency to drafting and editing of contracts pleadings, briefs, and correspondence. Features such as cut and paste, merges, and templates permit text created in one project to be used in another. Redlining, comments, and the ability to save muliple versions of the same document, permit more than one person to have input on the contents. This article discusses some of the purposes and possibilities for electronically sharing documents with others

Why Share

The primary purpose of sharing documents electronically is to take the efficiencies of word processing and use them for tasks for which the printed page has traditionally been used. What attorney has not had a contract passed, mailed, or faxed back and forth with suggested changes made as marginal notations? Or had interrogatories manually re-entered into a word processor so that they can be answered in question-answer format? Or wished he or she could copy-and-paste language directly from a statute rather than type it in?

Whether for collaboration or information, sharing electronic documents in the same way as we share paper ones can be valuable. As the Administrative Office of the United States Courts notes in the March 1997 Discussion Draft of Electronic Case Files In The Federal Courts: A Preliminary Examination Of Goals, Issues, And The Road Ahead, "most documents now generated in litigation are created first in electronic form-only later to be printed, copied, and filed with the court. The federal courts can further reduce their reliance on paper records by establishing electronic case file systems- i.e., procedures and methods for using electronic equipment to file, maintain, and retrieve case file information in 'digitized' form."4

Sharing Issues

Technologically, electronic document sharing is available now. In addition to lack of familiarity and comfort with the process (how many MS-Word users actually use redlining to track revisions?), there are issues to be considered. Among them are three that may be described as security, compatibility, and "look and feel."

Security

Security deals with the safety of the content of the document-can the document be changed? During the negotiation phase of a contract, for example, we may...

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