Electronic discovery is a long process, but thanks to technology it is faster and more efficient than traditional document review. The Electronic Discovery Reference Model provides a framework of the stages of the electronic discovery process.

The first stage is information management. The EDRM further breaks down information management into a model called the Information Governance Reference Model, advocating the best way to for organizations to develop and implement effective and actionable information management programs. The next stage isidentification, in which the legal team develops a plan to identify possibly relevant electronically stored information sources. This is the phase in which the eDiscovery team develops their strategy for finding all ESI that may be relevant. At the next stage, both preservation and collection occur together. This stage is largely the implementation of the strategy developed in identification.

As the volume of ESI continues to decrease, we reach the next stage, potentially the most important or challenging. During this phase, processing, review and analytics all take place. Processing is an essential step for Electronic Discovery. Review may be the most critical component. Review is the stage at which the documents are grouped into logical sub-sets. This is the stage where electronic discovery provides a significant advantage over traditional legal discovery, saving countless hours and costs. Analysis takes place during many phases of discovery, involving human decision making about strategy and scope based on the documents reviewed.

The final two stages are production and presentation. Production is a largely technical part of the process, converting the ESI to a form presentable in litigation. Lastly presentation is the culmination of the process in which the ESI is presented to an audience in litigation. As you can see, electronic discovery is a long process and often times tedious, but it has a number of benefits over traditional document review.