A Career In Litigation Support: A Future-Proof Choice

While there are still courtrooms, judges and attorneys, the legal profession has changed a lot on the past few decades, resulting in the growth of a whole new sub-branch of the legal profession.. 

As legal processes become more automated, the volume of electronic data for most legal practices is skyrocketing. To cope with this and the increase in large-scale, complex litigation legal professionals have had to outsource a lot of work pertaining to the processing and handling of electronic data to a new breed… the litigation support professional. If you are legally minded and want to work in a cutting edge, technical field that combines legal knowledge and digital literacy then a career in litigation support may well be for you. 

As you can see by checking out www.naegeliusa.com litigation support is a broad church, incorporating a range of legal and technical disciplines but generally speaking litigation support has a particular function. 

Litigation support specializes in the identification, preservation, production, collection and management of electronically stored information. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been amended to change the rules of discovery to encompass electronic information in the form of emails, word processing documents, spreadsheets or voice mail messages resulting in an exponential boom in ESI for most practices. 

Plainly speaking, the legal profession has more ESI than it can handle and it’s slowly waking up to the fact that managing it is a full-time job. As a result, there’s significant demand for litigation support. That’s where you come in! 

Litigation support is a new industry, and while job roles themselves are changing and evolving, most practices have common positions (though they may use different names), at entry level and upwards. 

Let’s look at a typical career path in litigation support: 

Document coder 

This is the most common entry position in litigation support and a good way to gain a ground level understanding of the marriage of technical and paralegal support that the industry represents. Your job will be to review, code and store files, documents and other data. 

Litigation support analyst 

While this is generally considered a step up from document coding, it’s still possible to get in as a litigation support analyst at entry level. In this position you would be responsible for the administration and facilitation of a firm’s day-to-day-support needs. Largely, this entails building, sorting and maintaining databases of (in some cases) millions of documents pertaining to the firm’s assigned cases and projects. You will also be expected to troubleshoot any problems with extraction or interrogation of the database. Generally, you will report to a project manager or a litigation support manager, although some firms employ a combination of junior and senior analysts. Given enough experience, some firms ‘level-up’ their more senior litigation support analysts to the role of litigation support specialist. 

Project manager 

Upon gaining seniority as an analyst your next promotion will be to a project management role. Here you will report to the litigation support manager and your primary duty will be the day-to-day supervision guidance and development of the litigation support staff. 

Litigation support manager 

Depending on the size of the firm, this may be the top of the ladder or you may report to a litigation support director or the firm’s director of IT. At this point in seniority the role becomes more nebulous depending on the needs of the firm, but generally you will be accountable for the litigation support team as a whole.

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