Specialists in litigation support develop and manage litigation databases, review or retrieve evidence operate technology during the trial, manage technology vendors and prepare trial materials. They also train legal teams to use these databases. If attorneys need help managing large lawsuits, they may employ a litigation support specialist.
These specialists must have the education and skills necessary to fulfill their job duties. For example, they should have a four-year degree in a computer-related field. They should also have professional experience, advanced skills and significant training in litigation support and database development and management.
A paralegal may also serve as a litigation specialist. This suggests that education is not as important as skill level. However, significant legal experience is preferred, and some even hold graduate, post-graduate or law degrees.
Some support specialists have certifications from the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists. Any certification from this accredited institution signifies advanced knowledge because specialists must pass extensive examinations and prove their education and training in the field prior to gaining certification.
These specialists typically only work for a legal team for the duration of a single case. These individuals may have to review and organize thousands of legal and other documents in a relatively short period of time. Then, they must quickly and efficiently train the legal team to access the documents and data efficiently.
Because of their time constraints, many legal teams are unsure about hiring specialists who are new to the field. However, if specialists have the technical skills to quickly and efficiently develop a database that is easy to use, a lawyer who recognizes their skills will pay much less for the same work. In addition, entry-level candidates may work harder and provide extra tools just to prove their worth and gain experience, which adds value to the case without increasing the budget.
Litigation specialists should have exceptional communication skills because the legal teams they work with do not typically have the same technical backgrounds. Therefore, jargon and technical terms may not translate clearly to the team. An effective support specialist will be able to present technical concepts in lay terms.
High-stakes cases may require specialists who can quickly combine case evidence and documents into a user-friendly database. If you are looking for help organizing piles of documents, consider employing a litigation specialist, but choose an experienced person with excellent communication skills who produces high-quality database tools.