An E-Discovery Professional organizes, assesses, manages, and maintains all the electronic documents shared between parties during the discovery process of a legal proceeding. E-Discovery is a relatively new part of the legal process, so it is continuously evolving. E-Discovery Professionals look at a client’s electronically stored information and help create policies for preserving that information. They make sure both sides comply with federal rules regarding the storage of electronic data and serve as a liaison between the legal team, IT personnel, and records management personnel.
The E-Discovery Professional position combines the duties and knowledge of an IT professional with the responsibilities and expertise of a legal administrative support staff member. That usually means that E-Discovery Professionals must have a background in technology and some knowledge of the law.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Assess a client’s electronically stored information (ESI)
- Create policies for preserving ESI
- Serve on E-Discovery teams
- Ensure compliance with federal ESI rules
- Educate clients on E-Discovery policies
- Use technology to facilitate discovery
- Assist in the collection, processing, review, analysis, and production of ESI
Education and Background
The E-Discovery occupation is attracting people with backgrounds as paralegals as well as people with experience in the IT field. IT professionals in the E-Discovery field are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in information science, computer science, or a related field. Paralegals are required to have an associate degree.
Some firms require E-Discovery Professionals to have certification, such as the one offered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).
Skills and Competencies
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Knowledge of federal regulations regarding ESI
- Analytical thinking
- Organization and time management skills
- Knowledge of ethical and legal guidelines governing the discovery process
According to Payscale the median annual salary of an E-Discovery Professional with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $36,000
- Tampa, Florida: $44,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $42,000
- Miami, Florida: $53,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $48,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $43,000
- Houston, Texas: $45,000
- Los Angeles, California: $59,000
- New York City, New York: $60,000
- Seattle, Washington: $50,000
- Overall: $44,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $43,000
- Tampa, Florida: $50,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $45,000
- Miami, Florida: $63,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $55,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
- Houston, Texas: $50,000
- Los Angeles, California: $70,000
- New York City, New York: $69,000
- Seattle, Washington: $60,000
- Overall: $55,000
Similar Job Titles
- E-Discovery Specialist
- E-Discovery Project Manager
- E-Discovery Attorney
- Litigation Support Manager
- Document Coder
E-Discovery Professionals come to this relatively new field from different career paths. Some are paralegals with associate degrees or paralegal certificates. The occupation also attracts IT professionals with bachelor’s degrees in information science, computer science, or a related field. An increasing number of attorneys are also entering the E-Discovery field.
Coursework in data management and legal studies can make candidates more attractive to law firms and E-Discovery vendors. Also, professional certification, such as the one offered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), can make an E-Discovery Professional candidate stand out.
E-Discovery is rapidly evolving. According to the industry website Law.com, one trend E-Discovery Professionals should be aware of is the increase in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in data management. Many AI tools are becoming more powerful, making it more complicated for people to access their data, have it corrected, or have it erased. Another trend industry thought leaders say could be problematic in the E-Discovery field is the growing sophistication of things like deep fake videos and fabricated evidence. They expect the use of blockchain and defensive AI to become more prevalent in prosecuting cases.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Paralegals and Legal Assistants is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average.
The typical work hours in an office setting for an E-Discovery Professional are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many work more than 40 hours a week, especially when preparing for trials or nearing deadlines.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Zip Recruiter
- Law Jobs
- Law Crossing
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