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Electronically Stored Information (ESI)

The legal term for “data”.

ESI stands for Electronically Stored Information, as defined in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and which refers to any type of information that is created, used, and stored in digital form and accessible by digital means. ESI is a formal legal term and includes all data, digital documents or other information contained on any media type, whether tape, hard disk drive, cloud storage or some currently unknown storage technology.

Typically ESI consists of email and electronic documents that have been preserved for legal reasons and eventually flow through a process, represented by the industry-standard model known as the EDRM and include stages from ESI Collection to Review and Production.

How does ESI relate to eDiscovery?

ESI is the principal object in eDiscovery. ESI is a term that encompasses any digital record such as letters saved as Word documents or PDFs, web-reports, spreadsheets, presentations, email, chats, database records, websites, social media posts and many other forms of digital information. All the activities related to eDiscovery such as the preservation, collection, indexing, searching, review, production is the management of ESI for a legal matter. A matter without ESI has no eDiscovery, instead, there are only paper documents and physical objects involved. Almost every legal matter arising today contains ESI.