eDiscovery Trends: ARMA International and EDRM Jointly Release Information Governance White Paper


A few months ago, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) and ARMA International announced that they would be collaborating on information governance guidelines for eDiscovery.  It only took them a little over three months to release their first work product.

On December 20 of last year, ARMA and EDRM announced the publication of a jointly developed white paper entitled, How the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM) Complements ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP).  The press release announcing the release of the white paper can be found on the EDRM site here.  The web version of the paper is located here and the PDF version can be downloaded here.

The core of the paper is to relate the EDRM Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM) to ARMA’s GARP® principles.  There are eight GARP principles, as follows:

  1. Accountability
  2. Transparency
  3. Integrity
  4. Protection
  5. Compliance
  6. Availability
  7. Retention
  8. Disposition

The white paper provides a chart for assigning ownership to each business unit for each GARP principle and describes the Maturity Model with five levels of effective Information Governance, ranging from Level 1 (Sub-standard) to Level 5 (Transformational).  Transformational describes “an organization that has integrated information governance into its overall corporate infrastructure and business processes to such an extent that compliance with the program requirements is routine”.  Based on the CGOC Information Governance Benchmark Report from a little over a year ago, most organizations have quite a bit of maturing still to do.

The white paper then proceeds to describe each of the eight principles “According to GARP” at Level 5 Transformational Maturity.  Where’s Robin Williams when you need him?  The white paper finishes with several conclusions noting that “the IGRM complements the metrics defined by ARMA International’s Information Governance Maturity Model”.

This white paper provides a great overview of both the IGRM and ARMA GARP principles and is well worth reading to develop an understanding of both models.  It will be interesting to see how the EDRM and ARMA joint effort proceeds from here to help organizations achieve a higher level of “maturity” when it comes to information governance.

So, what do you think?  Have you read the white paper yet?  Do you think the EDRM/ARMA collaboration will lead to greater information governance within organizations?  As always, 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 CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

A Marriage Made for eDiscovery: EDRM and ARMA


EDRM has been busy lately, with a new Model Code of Conduct drafted recently and now this announcement.

As discussed in our recent twopart series on eDiscovery standards, there is a growing movement to develop industry standards, frameworks, or reference models to help manage eDiscovery. This week, there was perhaps a major move in that direction as the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) and ARMA International announced that they would be collaborating on information governance guidelines for eDiscovery.  

According to EDRM, the partnership began at LegalTech in New York back in February when ARMA reached out to suggest working together. The plan is still vague, but together these two groups hope to provide a framework for records management in the eDiscovery context. “I don’t know where this partnership will take us, but it’s just silly that two groups with similar goals and ideals would work in isolation,” says George Socha, an eDiscovery consultant and one of the co-founders and co-managers of EDRM.

Two years ago, EDRM started its Information Governance Reference Model, providing a conceptual framework for information governance. Today, the Information Governance Reference Model is primarily a rough guide for developing information management programs. But EDRM, which is a relatively small volunteer effort, hopes that the weight of ARMA, which boasts 11,000 members, will help flesh out the framework.

By contrast, the Association for Information Management Professionals (ARMA) International is an established and relatively large and influential group claiming 11,000 members in 30 countries. ARMA international has developed its Generally Accepted Record-keeping Principles, or GARP, framework to provide best practices for information management. The framework is designed generally for records-keeping management, but has been designed to account for the demands of eDiscovery. Though ARMA’s core constituency is records managers, the demands of litigation have been driving many of the group’s recent initiatives. 

Interestingly, as we’ve noted previously, ARMA has previously described the EDRM effort as falling “short of describing standards or best practices that can be applied to the complex issues surrounding the creation, management, and governance of electronic information.” However, the organization clearly believes EDRM’s network of experienced litigators and IT professionals will help it address the demands of eDiscovery.

If broad industry standards efforts are going to be developed, it will take more such efforts like this that cut across industries and bring expertise from different areas into alignment. Socha believes that though the EDRM and ARMA have traditionally served different groups, they have both realized that they are concerned with many of the same problems.  “A lot of the root causes of eDiscovery issues come from a failure to have your electronic house in order,” says Socha. “What the Information Governance Reference Model and GARP are about is addressing that issue.”

So, what do you think? Does the EDRM need ARMA? Or vice versa? Please share any comments you might have or if you'd like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Trends: Same Old Story, Lawyers Struggling to “Get” eDiscovery


A couple of days ago, Law Technology News (LTN) published an article entitled Lawyers Struggle to Get a Grasp on E-Discovery, by Gina Passarella, via The Legal Intelligencer.  Noting that “[a]ttorneys have said e-discovery can eat up between 50 to 80 percent of a litigation budget”, the article had several good observations and quotes from various eDiscovery thought leaders, including:

  • Cozen O'Connor member David J. Walton, co-chairman of the firm's eDiscovery task force, who observed that “I'm afraid not to know [eDiscovery] because it dominates every part of a case”;
  • LDiscovery General Counsel Leonard Deutchman, who noted that the younger generation comfortable with the technology will soon be the judges and attorneys handling these matters, asked the question “what happens to those people that never change?”.  His answer: “They die.”
  • K&L Gates eDiscovery analysis and technology group Co-Chairman Thomas J. Smith noted that “A lot of the costs in e-discovery are driven by paranoia because counsel or the party themselves don't really know the rules and don't know what the case law says”.
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner Stephanie A. "Tess" Blair heads up the firm's e-data practice and hopes that in five years eDiscovery will become more routine, noting “I think we're at the end of the beginning”.
  • Dechert's e-discovery practice guru Ben Barnett said, “Technology created the problem, so technology needs to solve it.”  But, David Cohen, the head of Reed Smith's eDiscovery practice, said that the increasing amount of data sources are keeping ahead of that process, saying “You have to make improvements in how you handle it just to tread water in terms of cost”.

There are several other good quotes and observations in the article, linked above.

On the heels of Jason Krause’s two part series on this blog regarding the various eDiscovery standards organizations, and the controversy regarding eDiscovery certification programs (referenced by this post regarding the certification program at The Organization of Legal Professionals), where do attorneys turn for information?  How do attorneys meet the competency requirements that the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules set forth, when an understanding of eDiscovery has become an increasing part of those requirements?

One common denominator of the firms quoted above is that they all have one or more individuals focused on managing the eDiscovery aspect of the cases in which they’re involved.  Having an eDiscovery specialist (or a team) can be a key component of effectively managing the discovery process.  If you’re a smaller firm and cannot devote a resource to managing eDiscovery, then find a competent provider that can assist when needed.

In addition to identifying an “expert” within or outside the firm, there are so many resources available for self-education that any attorney can investigate to boost their own eDiscovery “savvy”.  Join one of the standards organizations referenced in the two part series above.  Or, participate in a certification program.

One method for self-education that attorneys already know is case law research – while there is always variety in how some of the issues are handled by different courts, case decisions related to eDiscovery can certainly identify risks and issues that may need to be addressed or mitigated.  Subscribing to one or more resources that publish eDiscovery case law is a great way to keep abreast of developments.  And, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that eDiscovery Daily is one of those resources – in the nearly 11 month history of this blog, we have published 43 case law posts to date.  More to come, I’m sure… 😉

So, what do you think? Do you have a game plan for “getting” eDiscovery?  Please share any comments you might have or if you'd like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Standards: How Does an Industry Get Them?


As discussed yesterday, there is a nascent, but growing, movement pushing for industry standards in eDiscovery. That’s something many litigators may chafe at, thinking that standards and industry benchmarks impose checklists or management processes that tell them how to do their job. But industry standards, when implemented well, provide not only a common standard of care, but can help provide a point of comparison to help drive buying decisions.

It’s probably understandable that many of the calls for standards today focus on the search process. Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in Pension Committee of the University of Montreal Pension Plan v. Banc of America Securities, LLC that a party’s “failure to assess the accuracy and validity of selected search terms” was tantamount to negligence.  As mentioned yesterday, the Text Retrieval Conference TREC Legal Track has been benchmarking different search strategies, even finding ways to optimize the search process. The ultimate goal is to provide baseline standards and guidelines to allow parties to determine if they are being successful in searching electronically stored information in litigation.

Within these technical discussions a new emerging thread is a call for ethical standards and codes of conduct. Jason Baron, National Archives' Director of Litigation and one of the coordinators of the TREC Legal Track, organized the SIRE workshop that concluded last week, focused on information retrieval issues in large data sets. However, even he, who has been working on optimizing search technology, recognizes the need for standards of care and ethics in eDiscovery to manage the human element. In a paper released earlier this year, he noted, “While there are no reported cases discussing the matter of ‘keyword search ethics,’ it is only a matter of time before courts are faced with deciding difficult issues regarding the duty of responding parties and their counsel to make adequate disclosures.”

The leading provider of industry standards is the Electronic Discovery Resource Model (EDRM), which has a number of projects and efforts underway to create common frameworks and standards for managing eDiscovery. Many of the EDRM’s ongoing projects are aimed at creating a framework, and not standards. In addition to the EDRM Framework familiar to many eDiscovery professionals, the group has produced an EDRM Model Code of Conduct Project to issue aspiring eDiscovery ethics guidelines and is working on a model Search Project.

But biggest piece of the discussion is how to create benchmarks and standards for repeatable, defensible, and consistent business processes through the entire eDiscovery process. There are no current quality standards for eDiscovery, but there are several models that could be adopted. For example, the ISO 9000 quality management system defines industry-specific quality standards and could be tailored to eDiscovery. The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) in software engineering follows a similar model, but unlike ISO, does not require annual updates for certification.

This is still a nascent movement, characterized more by workshops and panel discussions than by actual standards efforts. Recent events include EDRM 2011-2012 Kickoff Meeting, St Paul, MN, May 11-12, ICAIL 2011 DESI IV Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA, June 6, TREC Legal Track, Gaithersburg, MD, November, and the SIRE workshop at the Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) SIGIR 2011 on July 28.

There seems to be a growing consensus that industry standards are not just useful, but likely necessary in eDiscovery. The Sedona Commentary on Achieving Quality in eDiscovery Principle 3 says, “Implementing a well thought out e-discovery process should seek to enhance the overall quality of the production in the form of: (a) reducing the time from request to response; (b) reducing cost; and (c) improving the accuracy and completeness of responses to requests.”

The question now seems to be, what type of standards need to be in place and who is going to craft them. So, what do you think?  Please share any comments you might have or if you'd like to know more about a particular topic.

Editor's Note: Welcome Jason Krause as a guest author to eDiscovery Daily blog!  Jason is a freelance writer in Madison, Wisconsin. He has written about technology and the law for more than a dozen years, and has been writing about EDD issues since the first Zubulake decisions. Jason began his career in Silicon Valley, writing about technology for The Industry Standard, and later served as the technology reporter for the ABA Journal. He can be reached at

eDiscovery Standards: Does the Industry Need Them?


eDiscovery Daily recently ran a three part series analyzing eDiscovery cost budgeting. Cost has long been a driving force in eDiscovery decision-making, but it is just one dimension in choosing EDD services. Other industries have well-established standards for quality – think of the automotive or software industries, which have standard measures for defects or bugs. This year there has been a rising call for developing industry standards in eDiscovery to provide quality measures.

There is a belief that eDiscovery is becoming more routine and predictable, which means standards of service can be established. But is eDiscovery really like manufacturing? Can you assess the level of service in EDD in terms of number of defects? Quality is certainly a worthy aim – government agencies have shifted away from cost being the single biggest justification for contract award, more heavily weighting quality of service in such decisions.  The question is how to measure quality in EDD.

Quality standards that offer some type of objective measures could theoretically provide another basis for decision-making in addition to cost. Various attempts have been made at creating industry standards over the years, very little has yet been standardized. The recent DESI (Discovery of Electronically Stored Information) IV workshop at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law in June investigated possible standards. In the background to the conference, organizers bemoaned that “there is no widely agreed-upon set of standards or best practices for how to conduct a reasonable eDiscovery search for relevant evidence.” 

Detractors say standards are just hoops for vendors to jump through or a checkbox to check that don’t do much to differentiate one company from another. However, proponents believe industry standards could define issues like document defensibility, defining output, or how to go about finding responsive documents in a reasonable way, issues that can explode if not managed properly.

The Sedona Conference, Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), and Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) Legal Track all have efforts of one kind or another to establish standards for eDiscovery. EDRM provides a model for eDiscovery and standards of production. It has also led an effort to create a standard, generally accepted XML model to allow vendors and systems to more easily share electronically stored information (ESI). However, that applies to software vendors, and really doesn’t help the actual work of eDiscovery.

The Sedona Commentary on Achieving Quality in eDiscovery calls for development of standards and best practices in processing electronic evidence. Some of the standards being considered for broad industry standards are the ISO 9000 standard, which provides industry-specific frameworks for certifying organizations or the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), centered around improving processes.

The Association for Information Management Professionals (ARMA) is pushing its Generally Accepted Record-keeping Principles (GARP) framework to provide best practices for information management in the eDiscovery context. This article from ARMA is dismissive of information governance efforts such as the EDRM, which it says provides a framework for eDiscovery projects, but “falls short of describing standards or best practices that can be applied to the complex issues surrounding the creation, management, and governance of electronic information.”

Meanwhile, there are efforts underway to standardize pieces of the eDiscovery process. says that billing code standards are in the works to help clients understand what they are buying when they sign a contract for eDiscovery services.

Perhaps the most interesting and important effort is the TREC Legal Track, which began as government research project into improving search results. The project garnered a fair amount of attention when it discovered that keyword searching was as effective as or better than many advanced concept searches and other technology that was becoming popular in the industry. Since that time, researchers have been trying to develop objective criteria for comparing methods for searching large collections of documents in civil litigation.

As of today, these efforts are largely unrelated, disjointed, or even dismissive of competing efforts. In my next post, I’ll dig into specific efforts to see if any make sense for the industry. So, what do you think? Are standards needed, or is it just a lot of wheel spinning? Please share any comments you might have or if you'd like to know more about a particular topic.

Editor's Note: Welcome Jason Krause as a guest author to eDiscovery Daily blog!  Jason is a freelance writer in Madison, Wisconsin. He has written about technology and the law for more than a dozen years, and has been writing about EDD issues since the first Zubulake decisions. Jason began his career in Silicon Valley, writing about technology for The Industry Standard, and later served as the technology reporter for the ABA Journal. He can be reached at

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