Name: Carolyn Robinson
Location: Detroit, MI
What kind of work were you doing before litigation support found you?
Prior to working as a Litigation Support Manager and as a Adjunct Professor of eDiscovery and Litigation Support, I worked in the legal arena as a Legal Records Clerk, a Law Librarian, a File Clerk, a Litigation Paralegal and then as a Litigation Support Specialist. Essentially, you can say I’ve worked my way up from the basement while never losing focus of my ultimate goal of becoming a Corporate Director/eDiscovery Consultant.
How did you get the opportunity to join the litigation support community?
As a commercial Litigation Paralegal, I was assigned as the lead legal liaison to a fortune 500 corporation in which millions of records needed to be reviewed/analyzed and available for future review during a period in time when computer technology had not yet found its way into the legal arena. After much research and locating proven statistics, I was able to implement cost effective approaches and methods into a traditional environment which ultimately helped the firm as a whole to increase internal productivity ratios and thereby increased the firm’s revenues which allowed for the deployment of various state of the art technological advances to our clients. Of course, the key to this ultimate transaction was having a boss who believed in change and was equally as fascinated with the use of technology as I was.
When did you realize that this career would be a good fit for you?
When I analyzed my efficiency/productivity ratio vs. traditional manual review methods, I realized that with the use of technology, I could increase my efficiency ratio by 50% thereby enabling me to receive substantial monetary awards that were at the time not often available to support staff.
Do you prefer to be out in front and working with the clients or behind the scenes working with the technologies?
Ideally, I would prefer to work directly in the forefront with the clients. I’ve found that although many organizations have an internal IT department, the IT department is not familiar with the ever changing facets of electronic discovery/litigation and therefore, I feel that my skill sets are more valuable in bridging the gap between IT, legal and our clients. Additionally, I have worked behind the scenes as well and have extensive experience/certifications in document management, data conversion, electronic trial presentations, and a variety of litigation support software packages which I found having ‘hands-on’ experience to be as equally important.
Is there an area of litigation support that had a steep learning curve for you?
The most difficult learning curve has come from the internal workforce in the sense you must constantly remind ALL that there’s no ‘fast forward' button that you can simply hit to speed up processing times that would allow you to convert 4GBs and load the data into a nice review database in a matter of seconds. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to create that nice looking production DVD that is exchanged with the opposing side.
What do you consider to be one of the coolest things about working in litigation support?
The ability to take raw data and create something meaningful in terms of a work product that can be accessed by multiple teams/parties that promotes efficiency in terms of creating a well rounded workflow process which attempts to take into consideration all possible outcomes.
Which types of employers have you had while working in litigation support?
- Law Firm
- In-House Legal Department
Litigation Support is a well-paying career. How much has your salary increased since joining the litigation support community?
$50,000 – $70,000
How many years have you been working in Litigation Support?
Care to share any words of encouragement or advice?
Laughing to keep from crying. Although you may consider yourself a well organized individual in which you are constantly proactively thinking ahead and allowing x amount of hours for completion of a particular task, you will surely find that others do not work under these same principals and/or guidelines and often times, you will be faced with working 10+ hour days and incur many sleepless nights that often goes without notice. However, as a true litigation support professional you will find inner satisfaction in creating a final work product that you will be proud to stand behind.
In light of the fact, technology is an ever changing facet; I truly would welcome the opportunity to share trials and tribulations with others in this field. Please feel free to drop me a line via LinkedIn.