1. re: “Moreover, it is highly unlikely a company would only maintain ESI as paper”

    While I agree that it is unlikely that All your ESI would exist only as paper, it is inevitable that SOME of your ESI will exist only as paper. Companies are allowed and even expected to maintain document retention policies. Documents which have been deleted in accordance with the company’s retention policy before the anticipation of litigation are gone – and that’s okay. The human reality, however, is that some readers still print documents, either because they’re easier to read (especially for those of us still in denial about the need for bifocals, etc) or because they’re easier to markup or just because the reader is still more comfortable with some paper files. The paperless world is still a few years away – just like it’s been “a few years away” for how many decades now?

    The second human reality is that no matter what the policy says, the implementation of the retention policy is bounded by practicality. Paper files will not be automatically purged on exactly the same day as the electronic purge. It is inevitable that at least some documents will have been legitimately deleted in good faith from the electronic systems yet remain as printouts when the reasonable anticipation of litigation kicks in. And, yes, those printouts will have all sorts of printing and format problems that the user may have tolerated.