Litigation Support/eDiscovery Analysts
Exploring this Job
Learn as much as you can about the field of law and the specialty of litigation support/ediscovery by reading books, watching videos, and visiting the Web sites of professional associations such as the American Bar Association (https://www.americanbar.org) and the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (https://www.aceds.org).
Talk to litigation support/ediscovery analysts about their careers. Ask your school counselor or government or business teacher to help set up an information interview or a job shadowing experience.
Those who are in sixth grade through age 20 can participate in the Learning for Life program (http://www.exploring.org), which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. Participants in its Law & Government Exploring program learn about the legal system by conducting legal research; meeting with judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals; and participating in a mock trial competition. Both young men and women may participate.
Litigation support/ediscovery analysts identify, collect, manage, and produce electronically stored information (ESI) to assist lawyers during the litigation process. This information includes e-mails, voicemails, spreadsheets, text and instant messages, call logs, memos, reports, audio and video files, databases, digital photographs, social media posts, Web sites, digital presentations, and data generated or stored by devices connected to the Internet of Things. ESI is stored on and retrieved from many sources, including computer hard drives, USB drives, company network servers, the cloud, databases, mobile devices (such as tablet computers and mobile phones), and social media Web sites.
Duties for analysts vary by employer, but most analysts create and maintain databases for managing, organizing, indexing, and abstracting data that is produced during the litigation process; monitor; evaluate, and troubleshoot data during the entire ESI process; oversee in-house scanning and processing of electronically stored information; and prepare presentations of ESI for use in legal proceedings. During this process, analysts must ensure that the original file properties, metadata, and content (such as author and recipient information and time-stamps) are preserved in order to ensure the accuracy of the information. Additionally, analysts monitor data collection and usage metrics, communicate with managing attorneys regarding a project's progress, and troubleshoot technical issues with incoming and existing data and software applications.
Analysts train their colleagues—lawyers and support staff—on litigation technology software and systems. They strive to keep their employer’s systems up to date by participating in continuing education classes and working with litigation support/e-discovery vendors to learn about the latest products. They evaluate, select, and implement new software and other technology that improves ESI collection.
Some litigation support/ediscovery analysts assist lawyers in courtrooms, setting up digital technology, starting and overseeing presentations of ESI, and addressing and solving any technical issues that arise during presentations.
Technology-assisted review (TAR) is increasingly being integrated into standard e-discovery practices. In TAR, which is also known as computer-assisted review or predictive coding, analysts code or tag a group of documents to assess and identify documents in order to “train” TAR artificial intelligence software to identify documents based on keywords and other metadata. The analyst reviews the work of the software to ensure its accuracy, and through machine learning, the software improves its performance. Continuous active learning is an advanced form of TAR. In this form of TAR, analysts code documents while the computer observes in the background, learning from the analyst’s entries. As the analyst continues to code ESI, the software integrates that information, improving its understanding of the data set. “The demand for TAR continues to grow, driven by rapid expansion of large quantities of data tied to litigation and the rising cost to review that data,” according to Thomson Reuters.