Name: Debbie Westwood
Location: Phoenix, AZ
What kind of work were you doing before litigation support found you?
I was working as a litigation paralegal for a large law firm.
How did you get the opportunity to join the litigation support community?
The office I was working at needed someone to take over the technical side of getting ESI (and scanned documents) into and out of their Summation databases. I had taken a few software development college courses and was strongly encouraged to apply for the position.
When did you realize that this career would be a good fit for you?
I'd actually been looking into it as a possible career for a couple of years. I'd been interested in the use of technology in litigation ever since a former colleague had shown me how to accomplish something in Excel in 20 minutes that would have taken me 5 hours to accomplish manually. I was impressed, and thought “I have to learn more about this technical stuff”. Three years and a few computer classes later, I got my chance to jump into litigation support.
Do you prefer to be out in front and working with the clients or behind the scenes working with the technologies?
I actually like both. There's nothing quite as satisfying as successfully wrangling a wonky set of data into something more manageable and useful. On the other hand, I like explaining (and solving) the challenges involved in getting the clients' raw ESI into something a legal team can review and use at trial in a manner as efficient as possible.
Is there an area of litigation support that had a steep learning curve for you?
I think the most difficult challenge I set myself was getting my CCE (Certified Computer Examiner). I had to do a lot of research when I was working on the practical exams, but it is the certification that I am most proud of.
What do you consider to be one of the coolest things about working in litigation support?
The variety of work. And it's a great conversation starter at parties (or on planes). I often get told that what I do is “really cool”. I like that!
Which types of employers have you had while working in litigation support?
- Law Firm
Litigation Support is a well-paying career. How much has your salary increased since joining the litigation support community?
$30,000 – $40,000
How many years have you been working in Litigation Support?
Care to share any words of encouragement or advice?
Litigation support touches on so many different areas, there's always something new to learn. For a curious, acquisitive (as far as information goes) person like myself, this is a great field to be in.