Printing documents on one side


By Jedidiah McKeehan

If you want to see a Tennessee attorney lose their mind very quickly, give them a document to review that is printed on two sides. Profanity will be used, things will be thrown, someone will be thought less of.

Why such a strong reaction? Do attorneys just hate the environment? While I cannot speak for all attorneys, here is my guess as to why this became a thing.

The case file at the courthouse is maintained by the county clerk’s office. The clerk’s office will typically put everything filed in a case into that file. They organize these files by two-hole punching the top of each page and putting them in order so that the file stays organized.

When the judge or a clerk is reviewing the file, they flip the pages up. If documents were filed that were printed on both sides, it would become extremely difficult to review the file without having to flip the file around to read the back of every single page.

You may be asking, “This cannot be right. What about keeping things online? What about technology?” Some courts have done better at going online. Documents filed in federal court are almost always filed online and printed on both sides. Not so in state court.

So an attorney emails a document to their client and says, “print this out, sign it, and bring it back to me.” Then the client brings the attorney back something that they printed out two-sided. The attorney did not tell the client not to do that, so they cannot be mad at the client, but the attorney is having to reprint it all and then attach the original of the signature page they received to the reprinted copy.

At least for the time being, print those legal documents on one side only!


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including family law, criminal, and personal injury. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.