High Value E-Discovery Skills

Do you know which skills are considered the “high value” e-discovery skills by industry experts?  Have you ever taken the time to review and assess the common core skills most often listed in e-discovery related job descriptions? If you are considering moving forward in your e-discovery career, you will at a minimum need to  have strong project management skills and a very clear understanding of the entire litigation process in order to appropriately and effectively apply the right technology resources at the right time. In fact, this is the case in any project management role in the IT field at large. Project Management is listed at #2 spot in the “Top IT Skills for 2012” on TechRepublic.com:

Project Management (but with a twist)– The twist is that they’re not going to just be looking for people who can oversee and monitor projects. They also want people who can identify users’ needs and translate them for the IT staffers-the increasingly popular business analysts.

Our “business” is e-discovery; so what are our industry experts looking for? This week, The Cowan Group released their “Q2 2012 Critical Trends Snapshots for Law Firms and Corporations.” This report highlights the results from their industry trend survey as well as various communications with industry executives, insiders and hiring managers. According to the group’s blog:

Organizations need professionals who not only can help develop consistent, optimal workflows, but who also understand how discovery fits into the downstream and upstream process of a litigation matter.

If you want to have a successful career in e-discovery, you will need to step beyond the boundaries of what you think your job description says. Learning about e-discovery requires you to take control of your educational journey. Ask questions about the overall litigation strategy. If you know and understand why the technology is needed, you can manage the rest of the project details.  Are you a problem solver or an order taker? Problem solving is a high value e-discovery skill. It is not just about the solution. You will not always have all the answers. But do you know how to find the answer? The ability to take orders or follow instructions is not a high value skill. The ability to think critically to assess a situation to manage the change process on your project… high value. When I teach project management for e-discovery, I always include communication skills — the ability to ask questions and communicate options. It’s project management… but with a twist… what do the lawyers need and how to we translate that into a viable project plan for meeting the strategic litigation goals of e-discovery?

In a future post, I’ll address more about what you need to know to become a better communicator and project manager for e-discovery.