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Are Your Document Deliveries Arriving from the 20th Century? by Lynn Reilly

Modernizing your legal document delivery

Legal teams ship documents every day—in response to discovery requests, to outside counsel for early case assessment, to a vendor for processing, or for any number of other reasons. But while new technology has revolutionized much more complex tasks, document delivery seems to have gotten stuck in the 20th century, with options that are either not secure, not practical, or both. Legal teams still struggle with outmoded, cumbersome, non-compliant, and expensive methods. 

Option 1. Paper Documents 

Paper is cumbersome to handle, problematic to track, and can’t be secured. It requires that people work from a single physical location—where the paper is. Courts don’t consider it a “reasonably usable format” consistent with procedural rules. Although it is still a common delivery method, paper is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and outmoded. 

Option 2. Encrypted Email 

Third-party encrypted email systems present myriad process challenges, including the requirement of Outlook plugins, the need to manage encryption keys, lack of integration with other systems, and file size limitations. The sheer complexity of the process makes this an impractical option for routine document delivery.

Option 3. External Media

Sending documents on external media is easier than using an email encryption system, but it has some issues. It’s costly to buy and ship media. One traditional practice was to ship media and a password, in separate packages—doubling the shipping cost of each production. More importantly, shipping sensitive information on external media typically fails to comply with information security protocols.

Option 4. SFTP/FTP

SFTP/FTP alleviates the costs of external drives and shipping along with the risk associated with external media. The trouble is that it’s time-consuming to set up a transfer for every delivery. This method can be efficient for large and relatively infrequent productions in litigation, but it’s less practical for frequent, small deliveries.

Option 5. Online Delivery Systems

The modern method is a secure online portal, set up and managed by the party making delivery. Information security requirements are met with documents encrypted at rest and in transmission. Rather than separate physical packages, access control works by two-factor authentication. When a set of documents is uploaded and ready, the system auto-generates credentials and sends them to the recipient with one click. The recipient then logs in and downloads documents. The system tracks portal activity, and the portal closes automatically.

Unlike every other option, this type of online delivery eliminates the cost of media and shipping, the manual steps involved in shipping or setting up an FTP site, and the security issues associated with sending files on external media. It provides a way of delivering document drops that is both secure and efficient.


About the Author

Lynn Reilly is VP of Customer Engagement at Safari SOP.

Lynn has 25 years of legal experience as in-house counsel, in private practice, and with providers of legal technology. At Serengeti she consulted with law departments on operations improvement. 

She also practiced in the e-discovery group at K&L Gates and as Senior Corporate Counsel for e-Discovery at T-Mobile.

Learn more about her company at