Like many other “seasoned” litigation support professionals, I remember when businesses did not use email. By the time, email started showing up “at the office”, I was already working with litigators. So, I was helping with litigation discovery that was primarily in paper form and maybe a small portion of electronic files like WordPerfect documents.
I remember thinking to myself back then, as more and more businesses start using email, we will probably be collecting email in litigation matters, in addition to paper documents, about two years later.
Sure enough, the collection of emails began to overwhelm the litigation discovery process. Litigators were not used to receiving electronic documents, so what did they do? Unfortunately, in the early days of collecting email during discovery, we printed the emails to paper. Yup, lots of paper. It was a hot mess trying to keep emails with their attachments.
Anyway, a little while later, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were updated and a few new terms became a standard in the legal industry.
We added the term “electronic” to the term discovery, so it became “Electronic Discovery“. For a while, it was also called “Electronic Data Discovery (EDD).” In fact, to this day, the industry as a whole is quite inconsistent in their usage. You might see E-Discovery, E-discovery, Ediscovery, ediscovery or eDiscovery (my preference).
We also added the term “Electronically Stored Information (ESI)” to describe all of those electronic files that started inundating the litigation discovery process, including collection, review and productions.