Litigation Support

Certifications for eDiscovery Professionals

By Lauren Doucette posted 08-06-2021 17:09

  

Please enjoy this blog post authored by Lauren Doucette, Senior Practice Technology & eDiscovery Project Manager, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

EXAMS PASSED: Certified Paralegal, Relativity Certified Administrator, Relativity Analytics Specialist

The world of certifications can seem incredible overwhelming and confusing.  With so many to choose from and with such a range in schools of thought, I am often asked by my mentees, “Which certification should I choose and is it worth it?”  To address the first part of this question, I think its important to ask the “why?”

While some colleagues and even employers don’t find certifications worth much in the world of alphabet soup behind an individual’s name, I think it is important to determine the trajectory of your envisioned career path and why you think pursuing a certification will assist you in getting there.  For me, pursuing a certification has always been about pushing myself to grow and learn content in a more concentrated, focused fashion.  Sitting down and studying materials that relate to your current job duties or to the future job you hope to pursue can be incredibly empowering.  Passing the exam helps prove to myself that I have sufficient knowledge level in that area of law or specialty that in turn helps me feel confident in consulting or providing testimony in that area of practice.

Here is a breakdown of just some (not a comprehensive list in the least!) top certifications that I have found bring value to those who study for them and show value add to others that work with those individuals:

PARALEGALS:

CERTIFICATION

COSTS[1]

CONCEPTS COVERED

CERTIFIED PARALEGAL (CP)

$250/$275

Establishes national baseline for paralegal proficiency, covers federal rules across eight areas of law (civil procedure, criminal, contracts, corporate, estate planning, real estate, administrative law, torts)

ADVANCED CERTIFIED PARALEGAL (ACP)

$250/$300

Certifies individuals in practice specific specialties, showing an even greater proficiency and expertise within those topics (discovery, eDiscovery, business organizations, criminal, family law, land use, real estate, trial practice)

CORE REGISTERED PARALEGAL (CRP)

$325/$350

Establishes national baseline for paralegal proficiency, covers federal rules across the following areas of law: civil procedure, criminal, contracts, estate planning, family, real estate, business organization, torts)

CALIFORNIA CERTIFIED PARALEGAL (CCP)

$125/$150

Covers California centric legal system and regulations, including civil litigation, corporate, criminal, employment, family, probate & trust, real estate

LIMITED LICENSE LEGAL TECHNICIANS (LLLT)

$115 - $458

Provides paraprofessionals with a limited license to practice law, currently only offered in the state of Washington, is regulated by WA State bar, and focuses only on family law practice

[1] Costs are approximate and based on information available online as of August 2021.  Be sure to check with each organization for up to date pricing and any membership/maintenance related costs.

IT PROFESSIONALS:

CERTIFICATION

COSTS

CONCEPTS COVERED

COMPTIA NETWORK+

$338

Ensures competency in designing, implementing, configuring, and maintaining networks; covers network security, standards, and protocols

MICROSOFT 365 CERTIFIED: FUNDAMENTALS

$99

Establishes a baseline expertise in administering Microsoft 365, including core 365 services, security, compliance, privacy, and cloud concepts

 











INFORMATION SECURITY PROFESSIONALS:

CERTIFICATION

COSTS

CONCEPTS COVERED

COMPTIA SECURITY+

$370

Establishes a baseline skill level for performing core security functions for professionals looking to pursue a career in security

CIPP/US or CIPP/E

$550

US or EU (depending on which exam you take) privacy landscape, limits on private sector collection and use of data, government and court access to private sector information

CERTIFIED CLOUD SECURITY PROFESSIONAL (CCSP)

Not Available On Website

Demonstrates advanced technical skills and knowledge to design and maintain a secure cloud

 

EDISCOVERY PROFESSIONALS [2]:

CERTIFICATION

COSTS

CONCEPTS COVERED

CERTIFIED EDISCOVERY SPECIALIST (CEDS)

$795/$595

Demonstrates an understanding of the entire Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), focusing on best practices through scenario based questions

RELATIVITY CERTIFIED ADMINISTRATOR (RCA)

$300

Covers all administrative functions required within the review platform, Relativity, including importing/exporting data, permissions, creating custom workflows, building indexes, analytics

BRAINSPACE

$300/$500

Demonstrates proficiency in managing advanced analytics/machine learning based reviews using the platform

[2] There are a TON of certifications available that are technology platform-centric.  If you regularly use a different review platform, analytics software, machine learning model that is not listed in this section, I recommend reviewing the company’s website to determine if they offer a certification program to show competency in their software.

Is it worth it?

Giving up late nights and weekends to make time after a busy 40-60+ hour week to study work related material is tough.  I firmly believe that studying for the exams I have taken thus far has made me a stronger legal and IT professional and has given me the confidence to testify on the variety of topics and areas of law that I have expertise in.

For those looking for external recognition or gains, this can be more challenging.  While I find that many of us working day in and day out within our respective industries have a clear understanding and appreciation for all that goes into demonstrating expertise through one of these exams, I find that decision makers are not as educated on the variety of certifications that are out there.  Demonstrating advance knowledge and expertise to a judge, or even a prospective employer, by referencing one of the above certifications can, at times, seem fruitless.  There is an element of educating others on the difficulty level, scope, and knowledge base that still needs to go into each of these certifications in order to convey the value added.  

Bottom line

Taking on the certification process can be incredibly rewarding to your own growth in your career and with the right internal and external marketing, can bring external rewards, such as new opportunities, an increase in pay, and recognition of expertise.

 




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