Electronic Discovery Proficiency Certificate


The Electronic Discovery Proficiency Certificate is designed to enhance the skills of paralegals in the field of electronic discovery.

Due to an increased use in computers and digital devices, an estimated 80% of legal documents are kept entirely in digital form. Over the past decade, a body of case law has emerged to regulate electronic discovery ("ediscovery"), or the practice of exchanging electronically stored information, during litigation. This practice area deals specifically with the ediscovery process and the attendant identification, collection, processing and review of electronically stored information.

This certificate builds upon the Paralegal Studies and Digital Forensics programs offered at the College, since the emerging ediscovery field requires training in both of these areas in order for paralegals to have a complete understanding of the ediscovery lifecycle. Digital forensics provides insight on the early stages of the ediscovery lifecycle, while the Paralegal Studies Program provides instruction on the remaining stages.

Please note that this certificate is not a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) because it does not meet the ABA minimum of eighteen semester hours of legal specialty courses, among other requirements. If students are interested in a Community College of Philadelphia ABA-approved program, please refer to the Paralegal Studies Degree or the Paralegal Studies Post-Degree Proficiency Certificate.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the Electronic Discovery proficiency certificate, students will be able to:

  • Describe the civil litigation process and the law, and procedural rules underpinning discovery
  • Describe how ediscovery relates to civil litigation
  • Articulate the different stages of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ediscovery database software programs that includes the organization of data and the evaluation of electronically stored information for relevance and privilege
  • Conduct the acquisition and processing of digital media

Program Entry Requirements:

This certificate is open to interested students. Students are required to satisfy placement at the time of admission. Students who are identified as needing developmental course work must satisfactorily complete the appropriate English and mathematics courses as part of the certificate.

Program of Study and Graduation Requirements:

Successful completion of the certificate requires a grade of "C" or better in each of the courses listed. PLS 215 and DF 101 must be taken within five years of beginning the certificate.  Students whose behavior is viewed as inconsistent with professional standards may be dropped from the certificate program pending the results of a departmental hearing. All students are required to sign an integrity statement agreeing to abide by standards of ethics and integrity in all assignments and undertakings.

Course Sequence:

Course Number and Name Prerequisites Credits
PLS 101 - Intro to Paralegal Studies   3 credits
PLS 111 - Legal Research and Writing I PLS 101, which may be taken concurrently 3 credits
PLS 121 - Civil Litigation I PLS 101, which may be taken concurrently 3 credits
PLS 115 - Legal Technology PLS 101, which may be taken concurrently 3 credits
DF 101 - Introduction to Digital Forensics  JUS 101 or PLS 101 3 credits
PLS 215 - Electronic Discovery  PLS 121 3 credits

Minimum Credits Needed to Graduate:


General Education Requirements:

All general education requirements necessary for graduation are met through the courses in the program as indicated above. Students who wish to take courses that differ from the general education courses indicated above must complete a course substitution request form. To access the form, login to the MyCCP portal, and in the Student tab, under Electronic Forms, click on the Records and Registration Forms link, then choose Request For Course Substitution Of Graduation Requirement link. A more detailed explanation of the College's general education requirements is also available.

For More Information, Contact:

The Division of Liberal Studies, Room BR-21, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130.  Telephone (215) 751-8450; or call the College Information Center (215) 751-8010.