Create Living Digital eBundles That Work
If it’s not managed properly, a digital bundle resembles something slung together, disordered and difficult to navigate. Worse still, there are often extra unnecessary steps in the process that provide fertile ground for errors.
Cut room for error by simplifying the process and better replicating what’s best about paper bundles.
eBundle creation should be a single unified process
Before digitisation, the creation of a new matter entailed taking that first document and pairing it with an empty folder. Documents were added as they arrived, tagged, annotated, paginated (often by hand), and stored in such a way that they were both accessible and secure. This created a working bundle, a focal point for all the work on that particular matter.
The holy grail of the digital bundle is to take all the benefits of this physical approach and marry it to the best of digital to produce bundles that will work for those who’ll access them. This makes processes easier, from the addition of the first email to the creation of the eBundle (or its printed equivalent) shared with the opposition, the courts, and archived at the end of the process.
However, this is not typically the case. Instead, matters and their documents are stored in a variety of Document Management Systems (DMS) and eBundled at the end of the workflow in an entirely separate process. Ebundling, as is commonly understood, is akin to bookbinding, something that happens when the bundle is complete, tabbed, and paginated beautifully. Perhaps it should not be called ebundling at all but instead ebinding.
The reasons for this are not the focus of this article, but it appears that archiving and data security has taken the front seat over the actual job at hand. The two are not mutually exclusive.
The downsides of this back-to-front approach are quite clear, and the costs come in terms of:
- Cash, in buying an extra service to do the eBundling
- Time to make that service happen
- Errors that this extra step will enable
- Time when changes to the eBundle need to be made
Thus many firms now use digital are considerably less efficient than with paper. If the digital ebundling process replicated its predecessor better, all four of the above could be eradicated.
Make your working documents a working eBundle
To replicate the best of the old paper process, look again at how it can be achieved digitally, find your solution, and then put your data and security framework in place.
Like its analogue equivalent, a digital bundle should be opened when the first client email arrives. The process of working on the matter creates the working eBundle, adding to it as the matter develops. Notes, annotations, links and highlights mark up the documents in the working eBundle as time goes on. Automated pagination and table of contents creation mean that the bundle can be reorganised at will.
With a firm dealing with multiple cases at any one time, digital bundles such as this have the enormous benefit of letting the user pick up where they left off, even if weeks later, just like with a well-organised paper bundle. This digital working eBundle becomes the sole working document for the team. When needed, sharing the bundle in another format, either as a full copy or a clean copy for the other side, is two or three clicks away. If inserts need to be added at a later date, insert pagination will take care of that so that there is no confusion as the eBundle is propagated to others.
If eBundles are to truly replicate their analogue forbears, they need to be thought of and worked with as working eBundles, not simply a static document to share with the courts and the other side.
At Casedo, we have created just such a solution, a single space for a working eBundle, making the bundle workflow a smooth process from beginning to end.
If you would like to discuss how we can work with you to implement this simple, cost-effective solution, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Author: Ross Birkbeck, Casedo