The growth of digital content is dramatically affecting the practice of law, especially when it comes to discovery. This proliferation of digital content threatens to overwhelm the ability of law firms to fulfill their discovery requirements, both in gathering the information necessary to win cases and in complying with mandates to deliver information to others.
The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) was launched in May 2005 to help the legal profession address these escalating challenges. EDRM develops and publishes frameworks, standards and resources that empower legal practitioners to more effectively and efficiently execute e-discovery, while also taking a more strategic approach to information governance.
Law firms that invest in EDRM processes and associated technologies reap a variety of valuable benefits, including:
Better outcomes: When attorneys get faster access to more complete, accurate and up-to-date information — and when they can better organize that information to align with their case strategies — they can negotiate settlements from stronger positions and make more convincing arguments in court. EDRM thus translates directly into consistently better outcomes for law firms and the clients they represent.
Lower costs: Automation and well-defined workflows significantly reduce case costs. These savings can be passed along to clients, increasing the positive financial impact of realized wins and mitigating the downside financial exposure for losses. In addition, some legal opponents will often drive up discovery costs as a negotiating tactic. EDRM can neutralize this commonplace tactic.
Reduced risk: Inadequately managed discovery exposes law firms to a variety of risks, including errors that can lead to sanctions for discovery misconduct and breach of regulatory mandates regarding confidentiality. EDRM best practices, including appropriate automation and quality controls, greatly mitigate exposure to these risks.
Practice scalability: Limitations in a firm’s capacity to manage discovery can be a significant obstacle to the growth of the practice, in terms of both overall case volume and expansion into new practice areas. By increasing the efficiency of discovery processes, EDRM can remove such obstacles.
Enhanced reputation: High-worth clients have high expectations when it comes to the ability of their counsel to navigate an increasingly digital world. A strong EDRM practice has therefore become an integral component of every law firm’s brand value.
Simply put, no law firm can remain complacent about how it performs e-discovery, as the sheer volume of digital content continues to grow — and as case outcomes hinge on digital artifacts that are increasingly difficult to pinpoint. Every practice leader therefore should prioritize e-discovery modernization and consider investments in EDRM-enabling technologies.
For more information on the Electronic Discovery Reference model, read the white paper "EDRM: Streamlining Legal Practice.”