Case Study – Debbie Westwood

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?

6

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.

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