1. Overview

During the discovery phase of litigation, parties to a dispute must take appropriate, reasonable steps to locate relevant, responsive Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) in response to discovery requests. This EDRM Search Guide focuses on the search, retrieval and production of ESI within the larger e-discovery process described in the EDRM Model. Use of automated search can be an essential component in the e-discovery process as attorneys may perform automated searches to locate relevant, responsive, and/or privileged ESI for a legal matter. The commentary in this EDRM Search Guide describes the concept of search, the various search methodologies available to a practitioner in a particular case, and how various search methods may be deployed to achieve the most optimal results.

Typically, various automated searches are used by a Producing Party, in response to discovery request for ESI from a Requesting Party. The goal of this document is to provide a standardized way for the Requesting Party and Producing Party to communicate with each other regarding aspects of search that are important for a successful search, retrieval and production of responsive ESI. This document also addresses standardized reporting by which a Producing Party can provide search results to the Requesting Party. A production request may involve iterative evolution and refinement of searches between the Requesting Party and the Producing Party during the discovery lifecycle of the litigation. The EDRM Search Guide provides a mechanism for documenting this historical evolution of searches, thereby providing a vehicle for communicating these changes. Also, this document provides Best Practices Guidelines on when certain search methods are likely to produce more effective results, and aspects of search that may be considered to achieve optimal results. The EDRM Search Guide is properly viewed as a dynamic, living document that will require appropriate revision from time to time as the needs of the legal community develop and change and as the tools and techniques available to parties in disputes evolve to meet those needs.