Case Study – Mike McBride

Mike McBride

Name:  Mike McBride

Location: Corvallis, OR

What kind of work were you doing before litigation support found you?

I worked in IT – Tech Support, eventually finding my way to a helpdesk position at a law firm.

How did you get the opportunity to join the litigation support community?

At the time, our lone Lit Support person was in need of extra help, and since I was “good at finding creative ways to get things done”, I was offered the chance to move over. At the time, that was probably the only qualification I had.

When did you realize that this career would be a good fit for you?

I'm still waiting for that realization. Some days I think it's a good fit, other days I wonder what the heck I was thinking. 😉

Do you prefer to be out in front and working with the clients or behind the scenes working with the technologies?

As an introvert, and a techie, I'm obviously more comfortable working behind the scenes. However, at my previous firm I had to do both, and do trial support as well, which is about as “out in front” as you can get. Being out front is exciting, and you definitely have better stories to tell, but for me, it's also kind of exhausting. I need to retreat to working behind the scenes from time to time in order to not burn out. You have to know your limitations.

Is there an area of litigation support that had a steep learning curve for you?

I expected the legal side to be steep, but I honestly didn't have too much difficulty getting up to speed on the rules and proper procedures. They're logical, so my technical and troubleshooting background actually really helped. (If you follow the proper steps, you get the proper results) If anything has been a steep learning curve, it's learning to work directly for, and alongside, attorneys. They aren't trained to think the same way IT people are, and they approach every problem completely differently than we do. People skills are a very important part of working with a case team.

What do you consider to be one of the coolest things about working in litigation support?

I think being able to take something hugely complex, and turn it into something easy to work with, is pretty fun. Think about the fact that we can take a set of random data from a PC, and by the time we're done with it, all an attorney needs to do is run a search and tag documents that need to be produced. That's kind of cool, to me anyway.

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?

If you're coming into this from the IT side of things, get up to speed on the legal side quickly, and never forget that when it comes to technological solutions, you are the expert in the room. Don't be intimidated. On the other hand, also remember all the soft skills you picked up doing tech support, they will come in handy when dealing with a legal team on a deadline.

Contact Info:

You can find out more than you probably ever wanted to know about me, including links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. at my website

    I am very passionate about helping legal professionals succeed. I even quit my day job to devote more time to mentoring! I want to encourage you to subscribe and join the LitSuppGuru community. I share humorous, informative, and time-sensitive emails above and beyond what appears on this site.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are salesy, offensive or off-topic.

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    • Julie Johnston

      Thanks for your feedback Mike – I too came from the IT side of the house, recently moving into Litigation Support.   I am struggling to get up to speed on rules and proper procedures – any recommendations for me?  I’m currently taking an OLP course “Role of Trial Technician”.  The first class covered the basic flow of a litigation case – which is a good start.  However, I’m thinking there is more to the “rules and regulations” that I should be studying…

      Julie Johnston

      • Julie Johnston

        Thanks Mike!  Yes, very encouraging.  Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Mark Lieb – he has several “Discovery Hints” posted on his LinkedIn page that I have for my nighttime reading….. I must be destined for Lit Support if I’d rather read “Discovery Risks and Standards” than any ol’ novel…. 

    • FarmerDave

      Sounds very encouraging!

    • Julie, when I first got into Lit Supoort, I really focused in on the FRCP covering e-discovery, getting really familiar with the process, what was expected of each side, what a 26(f) conference is, etc. I also started reading law blogs in that area, like Ralph Losey, Craig Ball, the Bowtie Law Blog by Josh Gilliland, and many others, so that I could get a feel for what a case team would be dealing with when it came to collection, review, and production phases of the EDRM, what current case law is saying about the proper way to conduct discovery, etc. I also looked at Mark Leib’s book “Litigation Support Department” to get an idea of what the different roles are, and where I fit in within the way cases were handled at the firm. At the time, we didn’t really have the budget to send me out to classes on e-discovery, focusing instead on learning the tools we were using, but I know now there are a handful of online resources, like the OLP classes, that are a bit more affordable! 

      All that being said, it’s still the attorney’s who call the shots on a case, so as much value as there is to knowing proper procedures, sometimes it’s really just about getting them what they ask for. I find that to be especially true when doing trial support. Everyone on a case team is stressed enough at that time. 😉

    • Jewlia Love

      Loved reading about your experiences. I too am coming from the IT side of the house having worked for a law firm. I’m excited to be starting a new career path and like you feel like this is meant to be. Thanks Julie for asking questions as now I am learning  more and have more resources to read/learn about!

      • Anonymous

        Team work at its best!!