Q: I’m interested in making a future move to litigation support and eDiscovery. Can you advise how I can gain the required skills and experience to eventually transition to such a position?
A: Litigation continues to be a busy practice area, so planning for a future role in litigation support or eDiscovery role is a smart move. Of course, what sounds good to you will also sound good to your peers, so you should expect to face stiff competition. Here are some tips to help you get an edge:
Getting a foothold
To work on eDiscovery matters, you need more than general tech skills. Law firms expect candidates to have in-depth knowledge of eDiscovery and litigation management software. While these are relatively intuitive tools, you can’t expect to master them by flicking through a manual. Fortunately, a growing number of colleges offer eDiscovery courses, as do professional bodies like the Association of Legal Administrators and National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Learning the basics of eDiscovery will be less of a challenge than getting actual experience using these tools in the real world. More and more firms are looking to in-source eDiscovery tasks, and if your litigation support team wants to expand, they may need an extra pair of hands. Ask to join a project. Even if there is nothing available right now, you’ll be putting down a marker for the future.
Climbing the ladder
Credentials matter — you may find that questions over your competence fall away once you have some letters after your name or are certified as an expert in an eDiscovery platform, such as Relativity. To become a Certified eDiscovery Specialist (CEDS), you’ll need to put in 20-30 hours of study before sitting for a four-hour online exam. Prefer to take an introductory program first? Take shorter courses with industry organizations like the Center for Legal Studies.
Future proofing your career
The global eDiscovery market is expected to be worth $27 billion by 2024. Meanwhile, new technologies like machine learning and block chain are transforming the legal landscape in ways we can’t predict. By moving into a field at the cutting edge of legal tech, and mastering the tools we have right now, you’ll be in great shape for a future litigation support or eDiscovery role.
Robert Half Legal is a premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With locations in North America and major cities around the world, Robert Half Legal offers a full suite of services, in-demand expertise across practice areas and highly skilled professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis, to help organizations manage constantly changing workloads. For more information about the company, visit roberthalflegal.com.