Is it time to drop the ‘e’ from eDiscovery?

Ok people, it’s 2017. So, here’s an audacious proposition to herald in a new era; a small but potentially significant change to our industry nomenclature.

The e-discovery sector is mature. Very mature. In the early days, the notion that original evidence could be found in electronic form was novel and challenging. It required detailed explanation, different thinking and new processes. A new industry was born and a new term ‘e-discovery’ was created to describe it.

However fifteen years on lawyers, investigators and their clients now well understand that the vast majority of original evidence is electronic and that paper documents are the exception rather than the rule.

Management of data is a standard, accepted part of the discovery process. Electronic aspects are now so pervasive and inherently obvious that the ‘e’ has become superfluous don’t you think? So, isn’t it time we dropped the ‘e’ from e-discovery?

Maybe we need to coin a new term ‘p-discovery’ to refer to the paper based outliers.

It may be that some substantive benefits would arise from such a change to our standard day to day parlance. Perhaps reverting to the original, foundational term ‘discovery’ will remove the mystery, the perceived complexity and the fear of cost overruns that are so often, unfortunately associated with e-discovery.

Do you think the whole e-thing is sometimes ‘blocked out’ and quarantined off into the ‘I don’t want to understand it black box’ by those lawyers who are techno-phobic and who feel alienated by the increasingly complex and sophisticated e-discovery technology?

Do you think the use of the term ‘discovery’ could bring what we do back into mainstream thinking for those lawyers who are not technologically inclined?

Would such a change make the process less daunting and more accessible to the litigators and their clients who are purely and simply focused on resolving disputes or managing investigations effectively rather than expensive and convoluted digital warfare?

At EDT Software (www.discoverEDT,com), we are dropping the ‘e’ from our marketing collateral and our day-to-day parlance.

What do you think?

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