What is an E-Discovery Professional?:
Electronic discovery (“e-discovery”) is a $2 billion industry and e-discovery professionals are at the heart of it. E-discovery professionals use technology to facilitate discovery and manage electronic data. The e-discovery professional’s knowledge of information technology and legal processes renders him invaluable to tech-challenged attorneys and clients. E-discovery professionals help identify, preserve, collect, process, review and produce electronically stored information (ESI) in litigation. E-discovery is often a part of litigation support.
Education and Training:
Most e-discovery professionals have backgrounds in law or information technology. Initially those with legal backgrounds were paralegals. However, rising salaries are attracting more attorneys to the e-discovery specialty.
E-discovery professionals with IT backgrounds generally possess bachelor’s degrees in information science or related field. Some e-discovery professionals have advanced technology degrees.
Since e-discovery is a new field, most training occurs on the job or through continuing legal education classes and seminars.
E-Discovery Job Duties:
The e-discovery professional’s role in e-discovery is expanding and evolving. Responsibilities include:
- Assessing a client’s ESI.
- Helping to create ESI preservation policies.
- Serving on e-discovery teams.
- Ensuring compliance with the new federal rules regarding ESI.
- Educating clients on e-discovery policies.
- Drafting and communicating litigation hold procedures.
- Using technology to facilitate discovery.
- Assisting in the collection, processing, review, analysis and production of ESI.
- Serving as a liaison between the legal team, IT personnel, vendors and records management personnel.
E-Discovery Practice Environments:
E-discovery professionals are primarily employed by law firms, corporate legal departments, e-discovery vendors and the government. Some also work in academic settings teaching best practices and compliance with the new e-discovery rules.
The e-discovery explosion has created an unprecedented demand for e-discovery skills, pushing salaries to new levels. In top markets such as New York, e-discovery managers earn annual salaries ranging from $125,000 to $250,000.
E-Discovery Job Outlook:
The e-discovery industry has grown 300% in the last several years and continued growth is forecasted. The field is predicted to reach $21.8 billion by the year 2011.