EDRM - A 4-Letter Word You Need To Know / by Ronald Davis, JD

It’s not really a word. It's an acronym. But you still need to know it.

The EDRM. The Electronic Discovery Reference Model. If you are in business, you need to know about it. If you are a lawyer you need to know about it. Which means: most people need to know about the EDRM.

Why? Let’s begin with what. Here’s a definition of Electronic Discovery, a.k.a. e-Discovery:

The application of litigation discovery to electronic documents and data including e-mail, web pages, word processing files, computer databases and virtually anything that is stored on a computer. [...] documents and data are “electronic” if they exist in a medium that can only be read through the use of computers. (Source: krollontrack.com)

e-Discovery is a part of litigation. An important part. It’s about evidence. Collecting and producing your evidence in a case, i.e. discovery. When the evidence is electronic or digital, discovery becomes e-Discovery.

Pretty much all evidence these days is electronic. I mean, when was the last time you hand-wrote a letter on paper, stuffed it in a paper envelope, along with a paper-printed photo, and sent it off by paper mail? Thought so. Correspondence, photos, audio, video: paper and analog are out, digital is in. And so, e-Discovery is in.

A few more statistics before I get to the EDRM. In 2012, 86% of U.S. and U.K. corporations were sued. Over 30% of the cases involved more than $20 million. At the same time, 60% of corporations launched a lawsuit. (Source: Norton Rose and Fulbright 9th Annual Litigation Trends Survey.)

Conclusion: litigation is pervasive. Digital evidence is pervasive. Enter the EDRM.

What is the EDRM? Here’s the official description:

[The EDRM] provides a common, flexible and extensible framework for the development, selection, evaluation and use of electronic discovery products and services. (Source: edrm.net)

In truth, the EDRM is several things. It’s a set of public domain standards, practices and procedures regarding digital evidence. It’s a simply laid out, but information rich, graphic (below). It’s what anyone who’s gathering or may be gathering digital evidence needs to know. It’s what anyone who is or may be in litigation needs to be aware of.

As I said at the beginning, if you are in business, if you are in law, or if you are in business and law, you need to know about the EDRM. Here’s the aforementioned graphic, to get you started:

Spend some time on edrm.ne. It’s filled with information, answers, resources and more. And, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to have a dialogue about the EDRM.The EDRM. The only 4-letter word that can cause you trouble by not using it.