Our easy reference guide defines the core terms you’ll find in the ediscovery industry.

  • Chain of custody: The order in which a piece of criminal evidence should be handled by persons investigating a case, specifically the unbroken trail of accountability that ensures the physical security of samples, data, and records in a criminal investigation
  • Civil Procedure Rules (CPR): The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (eff. Dec. 1, 2016) govern civil proceedings in the United States district courts. Their purpose is “to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”
  • Cloud: A network connection providing access to computers and software applications.
  • Cloud Computing: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
  • Collect, Collection: Gathering electronically stored information for discovery.
  • Compliance: Efforts by organizations to comply with laws, policies and regulations.
  • Counsel (Inside/Outside): Counsel refers to legal representation. Inside Counsel refers to Attorneys who work inside a corporation and outside counsel refers to legal representation who work outside of the corporation, typically for a law firm.
  • Culling/Cull: Reducing the data set by applying filters and/or search terms.
  • Custodian: The person responsible for the ESI or other data entrusted to them by their employer.
  • Data integrity: Maintaining accuracy of data through its life cycle.
  • Data Protection Act (DPA): United Kingdom act defining the ways in which data about people may be used and handled.
  • Data security: The protection of digital data from access or alteration by unauthorized parties.
  • De-Dupe: Used in ediscovery as a way to reduce data sets of all duplicate copies of ESI pre- or post- collection. Removes all files from the data set that contain the same hash value and are deemed to be exact duplicates.
  • De-Nist: Used in e-discovery as a way to reduce data sets pre or post collection. Removes all files on the NIST list from the data set.
  • Discover, Discovery: A formal investigation that is conducted into a matter to determine the facts relevant to settling claims.
  • Ediscovery (eDiscovery, e-discovery, electronic discovery): Discovery of records and documents kept in electronic form
  • Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM): A model that outlines the different phases of discovery.
  • Electronically stored information (ESI): Information stored in digital form, e.g. on computers and storage devices.
  • Endpoint: Computer hardware device on a TCP/IP network (laptops, desktops, smart phones, tablets, etc.)
  • Forensics: Relating to the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems especially in regard to criminal evidence.
  • The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP): Rules that govern court procedure for civil cases (rather than criminal cases, which are governed by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure) in United States Federal District Courts.
  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR): The GDPR provides several broad protections for the personal data of European residents, including the right to access one’s data and the right to have one’s data erased. It requires that companies justify their possession of personal data and carefully control what they do with it.
  • Hold: Keeping items possibly pertinent to a matter in a safe and secure condition to be collected and used in discovery.
  • Identification: The process of learning the location of all data which you or your client may have a duty to preserve and potentially disclose in a pending or prospective legal proceeding. This is typically done during the Interview phase of a legal hold.
  • In-House: Corporate legal teams (contrasted against external law firms)
  • Information Governance (IG): Policies that affect the creation, management and disposition of electronic and paper records.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
  • General Counsel (GC): Head corporate lawyer at a company. Sometimes called Chief Legal Officer. An executive level position on par with a vice president or a C-level officer.
  • Legal Hold Notice: Written information (a notice) directing a custodian to hold all items pertinent to a matter.
  • Legal tech: The use of technology and software to provide legal services.
  • Machine learning: Artificial intelligence (AI) allowing systems to learn and improve from experience without being directly programmed to do so.
  • Metadata: Information about an item not directly related to the item’s contents, such as creation date, last modified date, filename, path in the filesystem, etc.
  • Native format: File format which the application is designed to work with.
  • NIST List: The National Software Reference Library published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the US Dept of Commerce. These are common software files, such as operating system commands, libraries and application executables and data files, designated non-discoverable or relevant to discovery because they contain no data that can be deemed as evidence to an action.
  • Predictive coding: Using keyword search, filtering and sampling to automate portions of document review.
  • Produce, Production: To make items which have been collected ready to deliver to a party, usually after they have been redacted as part of the discovery of the defendant or claimant. The production set consists of items that are responsive to the opposition’s request for documents, but not privileged.
  • Proportionality: Belief that the costs of a legal case should be related to its importance and value.
  • Request for Production of Documents: During discovery, a party may request that another party produce any items pertaining to the matter. This is accomplished by providing the party with a formal request (see Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b) for more info).
  • Review: During discovery, the producing parties are responsible for reviewing every item identified as potentially relevant to the matter and identifying those that are responsive to the request for production. 
  • SaaS: (pronounced sass) Software as a Service
  • Spoliation: The destruction or alteration of evidence, or the failure to preserve the evidence properly.
  • Technology Assisted Review (TAR): Also known as computer-assisted review or predictive coding, this process uses software to sort through data for discovery purposes.
  • Work Product: What a lawyer produces. All the writing that a lawyer creates on behalf of a party to a matter. Work product is privileged.