Name: Laurie King
Location: New York, NY
What kind of work were you doing before litigation support found you?
I was a legal assistant working in Michigan for a medium-sized law firm handling defense insurance matters.
How did you get the opportunity to join the litigation support community?
When I was a legal assistant for one of the named partners at the firm, I was reassigned from asbestos litigation work to this partner since his former legal assistant left the firm to be a full-time mother with twins that she was expecting. I was assigned to manage this very large and document intensive matter. As part of the litigation, the Michigan court ordered a common group of agreed upon documents to be imaged and available in Summation. So I was updated the Summation database and started using it for transcript management. I figured out that we could code issues, make notes within the transcripts, etc. That started it for me. I started to research other databases including Concordance, CaseMap, Doculex, IPRO etc. I found this very fascinating area of the legal industry.
When did you realize that this career would be a good fit for you?
I realized it was a great fit for me as my career when I took Summation and trained the entire case team on using it. I worked with the named partner with using the Transcripts management and notes for his matters. Plus I setup the network version of Summation for the team. Once, I had done all of that, the partner had me help with his home office so I installed Summation there so he could work from home. I really enjoyed what I was doing with technology. I was well-respected by the partner. I knew that this was a better career path for me since it takes two things that I love, Technology (computers) and Law. I went back to school to get my master's degree concentrating in Technology Management and Legal Administration.
Do you prefer to be out in front and working with the clients or behind the scenes working with the technologies?
Actually, I am happy either way. I have worked within a major law firm in my career where I worked with the attorneys and legal assistants on the case team. I would help them with their document databases, vendor management, and electronic discovery recommendations. I love being part of the discovery phase and trial phase as well. It was very fulfilling and interesting. Over the last 4 years, I worked within the corporation as the client. That was a great experience as well. I worked with the inhouse counsel and general counsel that allowed me to put processes and policies into practice for all electronic discovery plus I get to work on international matters as well. So it is 50/50 for me. I enjoy anywhere I go since I love what I do for a living.
Is there an area of litigation support that had a steep learning curve for you?
I would say learning electronic discovery when it was starting to gain a lot of steam back in 2000. Everyone was going through what should be and should not be done with the electronic files. It was a steep learning curve for everyone at that point before the changes to FRCP back in 2004.
What do you consider to be one of the coolest things about working in litigation support?
The coolest things about working in litigation support is that you should have the legal knowledge and expertise such as being a legal assistant or attorney so you can still stay fully involved in the litigation lifecycle plus being able to use so many interesting technologies such as eDiscovery software, legal databases, developing own scripting and applications etc. It is constantly evolving so I make sure to keep up with the changes with the case opinions, laws, and court rules along with the new technologies.
Which types of employers have you had while working in litigation support?
- Law Firm
- In-House Legal Department
- Service Provider
Litigation Support is a well-paying career. How much has your salary increased since joining the litigation support community?
Greater than $70,000
How many years have you been working in Litigation Support?
Care to share any words of encouragement or advice?
The biggest thing that can be a huge learning curve for straight IT people getting into this field is the legal knowledge. There is a lot of case opinions, laws, court rules both domestically and now internationally that any should absolutely understand the importance of meeting the court deadlines with high accuracy. If you have a legal assistant or law educational background, it will be easier to learn about this field; however, until you actually start practicing, you will never truly understand why everything works together. This is a very rewarding career that can allow you make great money and be well-respected by some of the greatest legal minds in the industry. I just love it!
Anyone that wants to discuss this field more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203-278-6705. I love discussing this career path along with being a mentor.