What Is EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model)?

Electronic discovery is a legal process that involves the identification, analysis and presentation of relevant ...

Electronic discovery is a legal process that involves the identification, analysis and presentation of relevant electronically stored information. The Electronic Discovery Reference Model is a global standards organization that maintains workflow models for eDiscovery.

Read on to get answers to what is EDRM and how enterprises use EDRM to guide eDiscovery.

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What Is EDRM?

The EDRM is an electronic discovery model that consists of a series of stages. The organization that publishes this model started developing eDiscovery resources in 2005 and now maintains a presence in 136 countries through a Global Advisory Council that supports companies, governments, individuals and law firms that must perform eDiscovery.

Several versions of the EDRM diagram that serves as the basis for EDRM software have been released over nearly two decades. The latest version incorporates version 4.1 of the Information Governance Reference Model as the first step of eDiscovery. The EDRM organization recommends information or data governance best practices for organizations to support effective eDiscovery procedures.

What Does EDRM Involve?

To better understand what is EDRM, it can be helpful to think of stages progressing from working with a large volume of information toward a narrow focus on the most relevant information. At the start of the eDiscovery process, EDRM involves the management and identification of responsive electronically stored information.

As document review attorneys or other parties engaged in eDiscovery proceed through the stages of this model, they will need to hold and preserve important records to prevent deletion in preparation for granting access to authorized parties. Later EDRM stages involve preparing key data points for presentation.

What Are the Stages of EDRM?

The best way to answer the question "what is EDRM" is to explore the stages in the model. While the official EDRM is sometimes presented as having nine stages, the core eDiscovery process consists of seven stages.

1. Identification

The first major stage of the EDRM involves locating and determining the extent of electronically stored information for eDiscovery. As good data governance practices facilitate identification, the current Information Governance Reference Model serves as a preliminary stage of the EDRM.

2. Preservation

The next EDRM stage involves protecting relevant records from changes, deletions or loss. Parties with EDRM certification place holds, notify custodians and may also convert native files to petrified or paper-like file formats. This stage of EDRM supersedes in-house organizational protocols for data governance or retention of records.

3. Collection

The collection stage of EDRM typically involves preparing data for determining relevance, either in house or after transfer to legal counsel. This stage of the EDRM involves categorizing and organizing data and metadata for further use in the eDiscovery process.

4. Processing

This stage of the EDRM is critical for reducing the volume of information involved in eDiscovery. Processing involves data extraction and can also involve culling methods, such as deduplication or de-NISTing. Advanced technology with features powered by artificial intelligence can be useful for more efficient processing of ESI.

5. Review

The review stage of the EDRM involves assessing the responsiveness of ESI to discovery requests. Relevant information may also be redacted prior to presentation. Technology-assisted review software and platforms with collaborative functions are particularly useful at this stage.

6. Analysis

EDRM analysis involves the qualitative review of documents to identify patterns by categorizing, contextualizing or correlating evidence obtained from ESI. Document review attorneys build timelines, contextualize discussions or cluster topics at this stage.

7. Production

Key points from ESI are presented in the final major stage of the EDRM. The goal of production is for nonprofessionals to be able to understand why information obtained from electronic evidence is relevant to a case.

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What Are the Benefits of EDRM?

The main benefit of the EDRM is a shared understanding of the eDiscovery process. The stages of this process offer insight into a process that could otherwise seem opaque to both the attorneys or researchers tasked with reviewing ESI and other stakeholders, such as custodians or opposing parties.

The question of what is EDRM often leads to follow-up inquiries about the applicability of this method. The organization that maintains the EDRM publishes these standards for global use, which can standardize a process that could vary between countries, organizations or legal experts.


What Are Possible EDRM Challenges?

Some of the main challenges for EDRM and disaster risk management are suggested by the additional steps included in expanded versions of this method. Information management practices determine the ease of eDiscovery, which is why the IGRM is sometimes presented as the first stage of the EDRM.

The challenge of storing data in ways that are accessible for eDiscovery can pose unique challenges for organizations migrating to the cloud. It is also critical to decide on file formats for preservation and presentation. The model does not specify these standards, but the basics of what is EDRM are a solid basis for these and other case-specific considerations.

What Are EDRM Best Practices?

Taking a process-oriented approach to the stages of the EDRM is a best practice for eDiscovery. Employing related best practices for data or information governance can make the identification and collection stages much easier than if digital rights and other aspects of ESI are not properly managed prior to eDiscovery.

Another best practice involves getting a clear sense of what is EDRM and using this model for records management across one or more cases or sources. The EDRM can also structure mini-EDRM frameworks for separate data sources to allow for greater flexibility in non-linear applications.

What Is EDRM for eDiscovery?

The short answer to the question of what is EDRM is a method for eDiscovery that can be used with any software solutions, custodian systems or server configurations. Cloudficient offers Microsoft 365 migration solutions based on unmatched next-generation migration technology to change how enterprises retire legacy systems and transform into the cloud. We develop product offerings to match client needs and provide fast, scalable and seamless services at affordable prices. To learn more about how bringing Cloudficiency to migration projects can support eDiscovery in your company, contact us today.

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