As a litigation support manager, one of the expressions I use is “if someone has the right attitude and aptitude, I can teach them anything“. What do I mean by that?
Basically, the sky is the limit in terms of learning how to be a litigation support professional if an individual has both the right attitude and the right aptitude. There are certainly litigation support professionals that have one or the other and not both, however I believe those individuals are unable to go as far or to be as successful as the individuals that have both. In my experience, the best of the best litigation support professionals have both of these traits.
Attitude – The right attitude has to do with how the individual reacts to certain situations.
For instance, can they handle stress well? The job can be very stressful.
Are they okay with working overtime hours? The job can require heavy OT at times.
Does the individual know the true meaning of teamwork? A cohesive litigation support team is the best team and hard to come by.
Is the individual comfortable with switching gears abruptly? There are two meanings behind this; (1) the job may require doing 3 or 4 things at the same time and/or getting interrupted many times and (2) managers have been known to ask you to stop what you're doing and work on a new project instead or take over a project for someone else with no forewarning.
How does the individual handle last minute requests from attorneys? They WILL happen and there's nothing we can do to prevent it.
Does the individual share knowledge with others easily? Hoarding knowledge is a huge no no in the litigation support field.
Is the individual capable of dealing with strong personalities and difficult personalities? Working in the legal industry can require special finesse when it comes to the people aspect of the job.
Aptitude – The right aptitude has to do with how well the individual learns the job and then excels in the job.
How well does the individual remember what they have been previously taught? Asking the same question twice is reasonable; asking a third and fourth time is not a good sign and does not instill confidence.
Does the individual understand that taking notes during a conversation is an excellent idea? In the litigation support field, retaining information or being able to put your fingers on information quickly is a requirement.
Can the individual learn the right questions to ask and when to ask them? This is one of the most confusing aspects of litigation support and someone that does it well shines in this field.
Is the individual a good problem solver? There are always problems to be solved; a litigation support professional will sink or swim in suggesting solutions to problems.
Will the individual be comfortable with spending their own time educating themselves on the current trends and technologies in the litigation support and electronic discovery industries? There may not be time during the work day, but if a litigation support professional doesn't keep up with the new technologies, they can't possibly offer solutions at the right time for the right situation as the job requires.
How well does the individual manage expectations? This is one of the most important aspects of a litigation support position and can get someone in real predicaments if not handled well.
There are many litigation support professionals that have both an excellent attitude and an amazing aptitude and they definitely stand out in the crowd.