Tips for Breaking Into Electronic Discovery

Electronic Discovery and Litigation Support Training and Education

Lawyer at laptop
Hero Images/Getty Images

Electronic discovery, also called "e-discovery," is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal industry. Experts predict annual growth in the electronic discovery market of 10 to 15 percent in upcoming years. It involves the technological acquisition, exchange, submission and maintenance of data and evidence in a lawsuit or criminal proceeding. 

Educational Requirements 

This industry is still evolving and it currently lacks global educational standards, targeted industry training, and uniform regulation.

There is no formal degree program for electronic discovery careers, so these professionals usually evolve from information technology or paralegal roles.

That said, most electronic discovery professionals possess bachelor's degrees in a technology-related field such as computer science or information technology, or a law-related field such as paralegal studies. Rising salaries and niche advisory roles are attracting more attorneys to the e-discovery specialty, however.

Niche Training Programs 

Most training in this field occurs on the job, but you can jumpstart or advance your career in electronic discovery by exploring one of the niche training programs that have emerged in recent years. Here are a few to help you begin narrowing your search. 

DTI LitWorks 

LitWorks offers formal training courses specifically developed for litigation support and e-discovery professionals who are new to the industry or who are working to advance their careers.

LitWorks courses focus on strengthening knowledge of basic litigation principals, sharpening understanding of the latest technology, and arming students with practical strategies to employ in daily activities. LitWorks offers Certified Litigation Support Project Manager (CLSPM) and Certified Litigation Support Professional (CLSP) certifications.

Kroll Ontrack's E-Discovery Certification Course

Kroll's program is targeted to legal and technical professionals seeking to expand their information management, electronic discovery and computer forensics knowledge. This course offers several breakout sessions designed to appeal to beginner, intermediate and advanced learners with both legal and IT backgrounds. It's a two-day course that takes place a few times a year. Attendance is limited and the course is popular, so consider signing up early. Kroll will even give you a price break if you do. You can register online. 

eDiscovery Institute at Georgetown University

This intense one-week session provides students with an opportunity to gain the essential knowledge and skills necessary to help them lead or participate on e-discovery teams. Instruction is provided by some of the country's leading e-discovery experts and it focuses on the nexus between the law and technology. A rigorous curriculum includes daily readings, hands-on exercises and proven strategic tips.

Vendor Certification

Another option exists if you'd like to get your foot in the door before investing in pricier training. Maybe you just want to know a little more about the field before you jump in.

Many software manufacturers offer certifications on their software platforms, including Clearwell, Summation, iCONECT, Concordance, Applied Discovery, LexisNexis and IPRO.

For more information on the e-discovery and litigation support fields, you can sign up for free subscriptions to Litigation Support Today and Legal Technology News, publications which cover the e-discovery industry.