Legal Electronic Discovery - Need a Map?

Let’s look at electronic discovery through the lens of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM).

Legal Discovery Products

The EDRM launched in May 2005 to address the lack of standards and guidelines in the legal electronic discovery market.

This lack of knowledge is a major concern not only to the legal field but also to vendors and consumers, who now require a working knowledge of electronic discovery, its related products and how it all plays into the legal landscape.

The EDRM is a guide for sound e-discovery practices involving digital documents and legal electronic discovery products.

The diagram are suggested steps – not law – to help organizations understand the process, pinpoint what steps that a particular entity manages, and give insight into the purchase of electronic discovery software products.

According to well-known data-management consultant Seth Grimes, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model provides a common, flexible and extensible framework for the development, selection, evaluation and use of legal electronic discovery products and legal services.

The vast majority in the legal field has its attention on e-discovery and related products and/or solutions, principally in the EDRM steps from Information Management to Review, says Grimes. He goes on to say about the EDRM steps:

  • Products and/or solutions for Records Management, Identification, Preservation and Collection processes – the left half of the EDRM picture – center on policy-driven content acquisition, management and stewardship.
  • Processing-Review-Analysis in the EDRM is retrieval, transformation and evaluation of individual documents or sets of documents to a) remove unneeded documents from consideration; b) convert documents to tractable format(s); c) determine the relevance of documents, looking at dates, custodian and content; and d) evaluate “a collection of electronic discovery materials to determine relevant summary information.”
  • Production is a technical term for the delivery of discovered material to counsel, and Presentation relates to form.

EDRM steps:

Information Management

Getting yourself in order to mitigate risk and expenses should electronic discovery become an issue, from initial creation of electronically stored information, or ESI, through its final disposition.

Locating potential sources of ESI, and determining its scope, breadth and depth.

Assuring that ESI is protected against inappropriate alteration or destruction.

Gathering ESI for further use in the e-discovery process (processing, review, etc.).

Reducing the volume of ESI and, if necessary, converting it to forms more suitable for review and analysis.

Evaluating ESI for relevance and privilege.

Evaluating ESI for content and context, including key patterns, topics, people and discussion.

Delivering ESI to others in appropriate forms and using appropriate delivery mechanisms.

Displaying ESI before audiences (at depositions, hearings, trials, etc.), especially in native and near-native forms.



electronic document discovery