Mike Q Weighs in on the Dash, Plain Cheesecake and Running Stop Signs: eDiscovery Trends

My post last week on whether the abbreviation for electronic discovery should include the dash (E-Discovery) or no dash (eDiscovery) or whether we should drop the “e” altogether has gotten a lot of attention out there, spawning ten comments on the post and an entire side discussion on LinkedIn. eDiscovery Assistant has even started a poll on the topic on LinkedIn which has 315 votes as of this writing, with two days left. And now Mike Quartararo (aka “Mike Q”) of ACEDS has weighed in on the topic as well.

The blog post by Mike Q – Grammar, Style, and the Rule of Law in E-Discovery (plus Cheesecake) – addresses his counterpoint to my argument from last week. Mike doesn’t say “Come on, man” (like my favorite curmudgeon Tom O’Connor did last year in response to a post here), but he talks about being a “big believer in rules”, then follows that up by letting us know he likes to run stop signs when no one is looking. Hmmm.

With regard to the question of whether or not to include the dash in the abbreviation for electronic discovery, Mike Q consults the Chicago Manual of Style to make his determination that it should be abbreviated with the dash. Here’s what the Chicago Manual of Style says about itself:


“The Chicago Manual of Style Online is the venerable, time-tested guide to style, usage, and grammar in an accessible online format.”

Venerable?!? That’s another word for “old”. How old? According to Wikipedia, the guide has been published since 1906(!). So, Mike Q is consulting a guide that was written 116 years ago to make his determination.

Imagine if the Chicago Manual of Style people had gone back 116 years to decide how people should write. Back then, in 1790, people still used the “long s” – which looked like this: ʃ – in their writing (and weird spacing and punctuation, to boot). Here’s an example from the “The American Young Man’s beʃt Companion”, written in 1786 (close enough):

“Imitate the beʃt Examples,  and have a conʃtant Eye at  your Copy  ;  and be not ambitious of writing faʃt, before you can write well”

Yeah, let’s do that.

All kidding aside, Mike Q is a great guy – and a smart guy. As I’ve said many times, he literally wrote the book on Project Management in Electronic Discovery. Want the full title of his book? It’s:

Project Management in Electronic Discovery: An Introduction to Core Principles of Legal Project Management and Leadership In eDiscovery


Writing is meant to evolve over time. Rules are great, but we have the freedom of choice to update the rules when most of us agree to do so. And, so far, with two days left on the eDiscovery Assistant poll, most of us are agreeing to do so. How one-sided is the voting so far? Let’s just say it’s so one-sided, even “you know who” couldn’t challenge the results!  😉

FWIW, I do agree with Mike Q that cheesecake should be plain, with no toppings. See – common ground! But I wouldn’t want to live in his neighborhood. Drivers beware!

So, what do you think?  Do you prefer dash or no dash? Or neither?  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.


  1. After more thought on this…at least a moment or two!…I’m in favor of just moving on to dropping the “e” altogether and using plain old “discovery”. Everyday people do ask if a document preservation effort involves only ESI when they see “eDiscovery”; it becomes a bit tiring in a way to have to continually explain that it covers all documents for most events/matters. But then…it is an identifying label for the overall industry of….eDiscovery.

  2. I still like just plain old “discovery” as well, Aaron. Some people have pointed out that it doesn’t differentiate from other non-legal uses of “discovery” (which I get) and others have pointed out that “eDiscovery” is just part of overall discovery that includes depositions, interrogatories (which is true, but I don’t get since we didn’t make that distinction with paper documents when they were the primary evidence source).

    Judging by the eDiscovery Assistant poll, people overwhelmingly prefer “eDiscovery”, which is fine with me. At least I don’t have to change the name of the blog! 😉

  3. Doug, I have to assume you’re just goofing around (and not looking for a libel suit) when you claim that the advice in CMOS is 116 years old. Can you possibly be unfamiliar with the style guide use by most US trade publishers today? Are you unaware that it’s now in its 17th edition? That no other style guide today has the same authority and breadth? That throughout the manual, its editors stress that flexibility and context must always be taken into account? That CMOS itself hyphenates “e-book” but not “email” in keeping with the times? (https://cmosshoptalk.com/2017/10/11/from-e-mail-to-email-is-the-sky-falling/)

    Although plenty of journalists blog on topics they’re clueless about and don’t bother to research, I don’t think that’s your reputation. I believe you’re more the type to update a wildly inaccurate post with a few clarifications. Am I right?

  4. Carol,

    Of course, I’m goofing around. This is a topic where Mike and I are both having some fun — at each other’s expense, but in a good-natured manner. I’m quite familiar with the CMOS and its influence over the years on grammar and writing style.

    We’re just having fun here. As the Joker would say, “why so serious?” 😉

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