New Organization to Promote ED Certification

In response to the growing requests for standards in the e-discovery field, renowned legal educator (and old friend) Chere Estrin has formed the Organization of Legal Professionals and asked me to be a member of the Board of Governors.  Her statement regarding her reasons for forming OLP and an explanation of the immediate goals is set forth below. I encourage everyone to read this statement and visit the OLP site.

One of the most important single observations from the most recent Socha-Gelbman survey is the shortage of expertise in the market-place with providers, law firms and corporations reported as “fighting each other for the few people who actually understand what is involved in handling electronic documents”. That is significant because the lack of qualified professionals can only grow as a problem. Predictions of 20% or 25% growth in the field does not guarantee that a generation of skilled and knowledgable people are simply going to pop up.

 Most litigation support staff learn on the job. Even as a vendor recruiting candidates from major law firms, you run a risk that the candidate does not have core competencies. Many are victims of degenerative on-the-job training. That is to say, the person training them received inadequate training; the new inadequately trained person goes on to train another person who becomes inadequately trained and so on and so on and so on.

For the most part, vendors do not have substantive training programs geared toward the e-Discovery individual. There’s plenty of continuing ed and in-house seminars but no real comprehensive long-term courses nor exams to certify competencies in eDiscovery. Your reputation, career and business remain at risk.

In this tough economy, vendors hesitate to spend money on training. Firms and vendors alike may hire a person from another position i.e., litigation paralegal; computer technician or someone from outside the field, to transition into the lit. support field. Only after plenty of trial and error (possibly on your clients’ cases), are they called an “expert”. There is no test, certification nor standards to enter or stay in this relatively new profession.

As a result of this crying need from judges, law firms and vendors alike, a new non-profit organization, The Organization of Legal Professionals (www.theolp.org ) has been formed for the purpose of providing an exacting and tough certification exam to establish core compentencies for vendors and law firms alike. This organization has assembled a stellar Board of Governors and Advisory Council to assist them. The names of these legal icons are the best in the nation and beyond.

We need your help. We need you to join and support us. We need you to help spread the word. The lack of qualified people in the fastest growing arena of litigation is unprecedented. And now, there is a way to manage and control the problem.

Please go to www.theolp.org  and join as a member, sponsor, student member or affiliate partner. We are also in need of Member Benefit Providers. You can also become a Subject Matter Expert and get in on the ground floor of this exciting adventure in solving a major problem in the legal field today.

The enormous challenges that have already been met by lit. support stars and hard-working, dedicated and persistent individuals in this field today should not be underestimated nor dismissed. It’s simply time to take a look at the future and who will be entitled to call themselves an e-discovery expert and why.

I look forward to your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me or anyone on the Board of Governors or Advisory Council directly.

Chere Estrin

chere.estrin@theolp.org

www.theolp.org

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1 comment so far

  1. Chere Estrin on

    Thanks, Tom for blogging about this very imporant organization that is forming. We welcome any and all interested parties. We are also seeking Subject Matter Experts who can assist in the design and collation of materials for the certification exam.

    Thanks for all your support!

    Chere Estrin


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