Before email legal discovery meant one side of a lawsuit handing over a production boxes of paper documents perhaps sorted into binders or folders within the boxes. Depending on the size of the case and the size of the lawfirm attorneys paralegals and other legal aides would open the boxes and keep track for each document exactly where in the boxes and binders and folders. Then these documents would be sorted into piles for attorneys to read through. Each document would at least be scanned to see if the content was relevant to the case then tagged with a post-it note (relevant or not). The relevant documents were placed into a new folder for more senior attorneys to review further. Privileged documents might be withheld or have parts of them redacted. When a side of the lawsuit made their own production they went through the documents that their clients gave them and did the same thing read through them tagged the relevant ones and if some of the relevant ones had privileged info they would redact that information. They would make a production of the documents that they were required to give based on a request from the other side which they would put into boxes and folders and binders with some bits redacted. And that's pretty much how it worked or so I've been told. I wasn't there. And I'm not a lawyer. I have been there for electronic discovery and have been a product manager at Summation and at Clearwell. I've set road maps for new features and defined and designed quite a few features. What electronic discovery software does is do essentially what I've just described only the documents are now email (Outlook Notes other vendors) Word files PDF files or hear the message. Depending on the software the attorneys can see just the of the document in one view and in another view see what the document would look like in the software it was collected in (Word Outlook PDF). They can see aspects of the document like which search terms matched the document or what the metadata is things like that again depending on the software. As they view the documents they tag the document as relevant or not privileged or not related to damages or not by clicking a checkbox or radio box. They can in information (like why it's privileged) as well. Redactions can be made by placing a black box over privileged information. As well as tagging electronically they can also organize documents into virtual folders within the software. Review software is designed to mimic traditional paper review as closely as possible while making some aspects easier (like search). Finally all the relevant documents are produced. This means that the review software gives each document a new distinct name called a Bates number so-called because the Bates Automatic Numbering Machine was used to stamp concentric numbers onto paper documents in order to give them a unique identifier. Modern Bates numbers are slightly more elaborate and may include a prefix such as the first few letters of the clientpany's name such as ABC_1923. Then each of these documents are converted into TIFF file that looks like a printout from the document's original software program. This method of producing the documents rather than giving an electronic copy mirrors the paper productions that were photocopies of the original. Redactions appear as black (or white) boxes and as TIFF s are stamped at creation time with the Bates number plus often additional information about the production the producing party and so on. Productions are exported into load files which are usually files containing the documents' Bates numbers metadata and s to versions of the files. The load files are often delimited by an eth or thorn (rather than csv files sincemas and quotation marks often appear in some metadata like Subject) and use the file extension .dat. The load files and associated files are copied onto a DVD and shipped to the opposing side. If you want to find out more about this subject take a look at the Electronic Discovery Reference Model at net. They have a lot of helpful information. That's pretty much it in a (large) nutshell leaving out mounds of details. If you just wanted the names of eDiscovery software well that's another question.