According to a 2016 study, there are over 1.6 million lawyers currently practicing in the United States. Some work for the government, but others are in private practice and law firms. As the amount continues to grow, there’s an increasing need to transform existing hard records into digitized files. While an in-house Information Technology specialist may be able to handle the data itself, they won’t understand the intricacies of the data. What’s needed is a person who understands both the data and the material in order to properly file it for easier retrieval. A person such as this exists in the form of a litigation support specialist.
Like, attorneys, these specialists have increased as well. The role of support staff like Michael F. Richards is to let lawyers and paralegals deal with their cases while they handle all of the technical aspects. And, because it’s a bit more specialized, this role is simply more than unlocking computer accounts or tracing paper jams in the printer.
A specialist in litigation support performs a number of tasks. For instance, they support hardware and software connected to documentation scanning and indexing for litigation papers. Another role is to consult with attorneys at the senior level to provide advice on how to best implement new or existing technology for them and their paralegals.
When it comes to litigation itself, a support specialist maintains the Electronic Discovery Database, works on all cases to ensure deadlines are being met, and oversees technical presentations and any other support needed for court trials.
These are a few of the tasks which the support specialist holds. Most likely, if a separate IT team exists for a larger firm, the specialist will work together with them to ensure updates are made to litigation-based apps and proper documentation is prepared to train lawyers and paralegals on the latest operations. They may also be asked to take classes on new law-based technology to pass along to attorneys.
To become a specialist in litigation support, you need a four-year college degree and knowledge of basic programs like Microsoft Office. In some cases, firms won’t hire specialists unless they have worked in support capacities at other locations. It’s recommended to do your homework before making the jump into this career.