For Newbies, Here Are Some eDiscovery Resources You Need to Know: eDiscovery Best Practices

I’ve had several people reach out to me recently via LinkedIn, asking about available resources for newbies to better understand the “ins and outs” of eDiscovery.  I’ve responded to a few of them with brief LinkedIn message responses, but you can’t get very comprehensive in a LinkedIn response.  So, I have attempted to identify several useful eDiscovery resources that I can recommend to newbies, looking to learn more about eDiscovery concepts and best practices.

By no means will this be a comprehensive list of terrific resources – there are many others that are also good as well.  But it’s a good place to start!  If you know of others, feel free to add them into the comments!  For those of you who are experienced eDiscovery professionals that already know all these, bear with me this one post (at least) to help newbies out!

Best Practice and Educational Resources Organizations

When it comes to educational resources and industry standards that legal professionals need to know about eDiscovery, here are three organizations that stand out:

  • EDRM: Since 2005, EDRM has delivered leadership, standards, tools, guides, and test datasets to strengthen best practices throughout the world.  The organization is known as EDRM and the acronym came from the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, which is the industry standard representation of the phases associated with the eDiscovery process and life cycle.  If you learn anything from this post, know the EDRM model – it is the first step to understanding the eDiscovery life cycle.  EDRM has created several models, tools data sets and standards over the years and is continually working on projects to improve eDiscovery best practices.  Another notable model is the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM), which provides a representation of the stakeholders and activities associated with information management within an organization.  EDRM also has an excellent webinar channel with several FREE educational webinars each month, including (shameless plug warning!) the monthly eDiscovery case law webinar sponsored by eDiscovery Today (we just conducted the March webinar on Tuesday if you want to check it out).
  • ACEDS: The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) provides a number of educational resources, including On-Demand webinars (if you’re an ACEDS member) and live webinars, which you can attend for FREE (here’s a list of upcoming webinars).  ACEDS is best known for the Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) certification, which is the most comprehensive eDiscovery certification available today.
  • The Sedona Conference® (TSC): Another terrific standards organization, which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and educational institute dedicated to the advanced study of law and policy in the areas of antitrust law, complex litigation, intellectual property rights, and data security and privacy law.  As a result, TSC provides terrific publications associated with a variety of legal topics, not just eDiscovery.  If you want to see a list of recent TSC publications that have at least a tangential relation to eDiscovery, click here.

All three organizations are not only terrific eDiscovery resources of information, but also terrific organizations from a community standpoint to get to know others in the industry.

Sites to Follow and Read Regularly

For the most part, all you need to do for this section is look to your right as I list several sites I follow there!  But I’ll briefly discuss three here:

  • Ball in Your Court: Excellent eDiscovery best practices blog from Craig Ball, a leading thought leader, teacher, mentor and experienced Special Master in our industry.  Craig not only has a unique way of communicating eDiscovery best practices, but he also has provided numerous terrific best practices resources for FREE through his blog over the years, including forms of production, mobile device discovery, an exemplar preservation letter and more!  Take some time and read through the archives – you’ll learn a lot about eDiscovery, technology and how the two interrelate.
  • Complex Discovery: If you want to understand trends in the industry, Rob Robinson’s ComplexD site is the best there is for that.  Regular trends that he covers include the quarterly eDiscovery Business Confidence survey (here’s the latest), predictive coding trends survey (latest) and even eDiscovery pricing (latest), which nobody normally talks about!  Not to mention, market mashups and investment activity within the industry (his current running list of investments since 2001(!) is within this post).  And Rob covers numerous interesting articles around eDiscovery and related topics.
  • eDiscovery Assistant: While this is not a free site, eDiscovery Assistant is a great resource not only for case law, but also for Federal and State rules, checklists and forms, and a glossary of legal and eDiscovery terms.  eDiscovery Assistant currently has over 15,400 lifetime Federal and State case law opinions and they add as many as several hundred cases a month – it is the definitive source for eDiscovery case law out there.  So, it’s well worth it.  And you can get a 30-day free trial here to check it out!  Why wouldn’t you?

There are numerous other terrific blogs and sites as well, but this should be a good start.  Oh, and this site, eDiscovery Today does provide daily posts about eDiscovery, so don’t forget this one too!  You can follow the blog via email to not only get daily posts delivered to you for free, but also any industry reports that eDiscovery Today offers.  eDiscovery Today has already offered two this year: the 2021 State of the Industry Report (sponsored by EDRM) and the 2020 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review Report (offered in partnership with eDiscovery Assistant).

So, What Should You Do Next?

Wow, this turned out to be a more comprehensive post that I expected!  Or, in other words, that escalated quickly!  So, I will be brief here.  Here are some recommendations for what you (if you are a newbie) should do to further your eDiscovery education:

  1. Set aside at least 15 to 30 minutes a day for reading about eDiscovery: Anything less and you’re not really committed.
  2. Attend at least 1 to 2 webinars on eDiscovery topics each month: There are so many FREE choices out there, you can easily do so without spending a dime.
  3. Learn and Understand the EDRM Model: It is the single best guide for understanding the eDiscovery life cycle there is.
  4. Keep up with the Case Law: It’s the best and most relatable learning tool for legal professionals wanting to understand eDiscovery.  You can keep an eye out on this blog for the monthly EDRM case law webinars that include discussion of interesting cases and lessons learned and you can also check out Kelly Twigger’s weekly ACEDS #caseoftheweek videos on LinkedIn here.
  5. Consider Getting the CEDS Certification from ACEDS: If you want a thorough understanding of eDiscovery concepts and best practices, it’s the best program and certification there is.
  6. Learn the Rules, Shankapotomous!: In the immortal words of eDiscovery expert and thought leader Tom O’Connor, learn the rules (shankapotomous)!  “Wait”, you say, “you didn’t cover the rules in this post!”.  True, so it looks like there will need to be a second part to this newbie orientation.  Look for that soon!

So, what do you think?  If you’re a newbie, did that help give you some useful resources to help you better understand eDiscovery?  I hope so!  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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