Electronic discovery therefore represents one of the most momentous developments in the everyday life of the modern lawyer. Its effect on civil litigators is obvious, but other lawyers need to pay heed to the issue as well. Transactional attorneys, legislative aides, prosecutors, in-house counsel, and anyone else with legal responsibilities must be aware of the consequences of using electronic means of documentation and communication. Even an act as innocuous as sending an e-mail (an act that occurs thirty-one billion times a day7) creates a digital paper trail that is subject to discovery. Delete a client 's e-mails - or close out of an e-mail program that deletes them for you - and you may be engaging in unwitting but disastrous spoliation of evidence. [5] In short, the Richmond Journal of Law & Technology could not have picked a more important subject for its annual survey. The topic of electronic discovery is relatively new, but it is not going away. It is both timely and timeless. And it is particularly appropriate that the first journal to "go paperless" should choose this subject for its yearly focus.

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