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eDiscovery Best Practices - Processing Guidelines Released

| Written by Imogen Fraser-Clark

At the beginning of last week, the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) published the final update to their “Guidelines for eDiscovery Processing”, a 40-page document adapted from Craig Ball’s “Processing in E-Discovery, A Primer” that aims to provide insight into the best practices for processing electronically stored information for the purpose of eDiscovery.  

The Processing -> Review -> Analysis portion of the EDRM (see below) is without a doubt the most time-consuming and important phase of an eDiscovery project. It is where your data is culled (processing), the most relevant data extracted (review), and studied for its importance and impact on your case (analysis).  As such, it is crucial to the smooth running of a project that these processes run without a hitch... Enter the processing best practices!  


This guide has been produced as a resource to help those who regularly use processing products, supply processing products, support processing products, or who are new to the industry and want to learn more about processing. It is written to be educational to help the reader understand the basic steps of processing and focuses on the processing functions, ergo, no conclusions are drawn on specific processing products available. 

Aside from the introduction, conclusion, and a glossary, the Guidelines for eDiscovery Processing are split into 5 sections for the 5 main pillars within processing. These are,

  1. ESI Ingestion and File Extraction

  2. Initial Filtering

  3. Text, Metadata and Image Extraction

  4. Processing Output

  5. Reporting.

These sections then have several subsections as they expand on each specific topic such as Scanning for Viruses, Identifying and Removing Duplicate Files, and Language Detection. 

The aim of the Processing Guideline is to be exactly that, a guideline, thus it should be noted that the diagrammatical representation of the processing process is not the only order in which the steps can be performed. It simply serves as a visual representation of processing to help readers picture the rather complicated underlying processes. 

The guide provides a thorough insight into the intricacies of processing in eDiscovery and is an excellent resource for both veteran and novice legal professionals alike. The guide can be accessed and downloaded here (or via the link at the top of the page), as can Craig Ball's book on which it is based. 

For further information on the processes involved in eDiscovery, why not take a look at our Six-Step eDiscovery Process blog?