While the world is in the thick of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually all litigation services providers are working hard to implement efficient and effective electronic solutions for their clients across the globe. For our part, Strut Legal has long touted the environmental benefits and efficiency of hyperlinked submissions and indices for international arbitrations as well as Court proceedings here in the U.S. We thought this might be the perfect time to re-up our first blog from 2011 on this very subject and update it for the times.
If you are serious about reducing environmental impact while simultaneously reducing costs for your client and increasing efficiency, there are a few key steps in the preparation and completion of your eBrief that you want to make sure to follow:
File transfers. There are only a handful of dedicated eBrief providers, and chances are none of them is located in your city/country. Don’t let this deter you from hiring one because you think you’ll have to ship them your documents to prepare the eBrief. To create a truly green eBrief, you want to avoid air freight whenever possible. Aside from the cost, it consumes far more fuel per mile traveled than any other mode of transport. Plus, shipping obviously increases your turnaround time and cost, not to mention security concerns of a lost or intercepted delivery. Thankfully, there is a far more efficient option.
These days it is pretty much and given that you and/or your vendor will have access to a fileshare system. Companies that specialize in file transfer include Sharefile, Kiteworks and Box, among many others.
Additionally, during the last several years higher internet speeds have enabled incredibly fast transfers, even for large submissions exceeding 10-20 GB.
Media and packaging. One of the major advantages of eBriefs has been the ability to pop in a CD, DVD or USB and instantly access the brief and all the hyperlinked supporting materials. For many clerks, judges and arbitrators this is preferable to sifting through binders of documents or batches of PDFs on a server. But what about the environmental impact of this media and their plastic cases? Every year, millions of CDs and DVDs find their way to the landfill or get incinerated, releasing toxic dioxins into the atmosphere. And then there are the jewel cases, generally produced from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), one of the least recyclable of all plastics. If you want to have a truly green eBrief, there are options.
Have your vendor electronically transfer your final eBrief using one of the options outlined above. If you must submit a standalone copy on some sort of media, provide your finished product on a reusable thumb or flash drive rather than a DVD.
eBriefs and linked indices/bundles for hearings. With the strong push for greener alternatives in all areas of litigation, including ICSID’s recent shift toward all electronic submissions, having hyperlinked indices and submissions can be a huge benefit. The materials can be loaded onto a shared site such as Box, providing secure access to the parties and tribunal. Additionally, hyperlinked materials can easily be loaded onto iPads using a number of different apps. Your eBrief provider should be able to advise based on the specifics of your matter. Again, this can save considerable time, cost and trees!
Remote/Virtual Hearings. In addition to your submissions/briefs, in all likelihood the long-term impacts of COVID-19 will require you to consider options for remote proceedings (hearing, trials and arbitrations) and presentations. There are many companies out there working hard to assist in this area. Feel free to contact Strut Legal, and we will be happy to provide some recommendations.
At the end of the day, providing and presenting your materials electronically is preferable to printing and shipping across the country or internationally. Adopting the simple steps above will help your firm go even farther in reducing the impact of the legal profession on the environment and will likely save you and your client a few dollars as well!