Life of a Paralegal: Spotlight on E-Discovery

Hispanic woman typing on laptopMore and more paralegals these days are honing their e-discovery skills, as more and more law firms are now requiring that paralegals use e-discovery alongside traditional paper discovery. Some law firms even offer e-discovery paralegal jobs.

If you’re interested in this position or are looking to advance your paralegal skills and career further, below are some tips on you can get started. But first…

What Exactly is E-Discovery?

Electronic discovery or e-discovery for short involves the identification, collection, and production of ESI or electronically stored information. This is typically used in investigations and lawsuits. ESI could be stored anywhere from email messages, databases, audio, video, and social media, to websites, and even voicemail.

E-discovery utilizes advanced technologies and processes because electronic documents are inherently more dynamic than hardcopy evidence and commonly contain essential metadata including recipient information, author, file properties, and date-time stamps. Preserving this metadata and original content of the electronic documents for ESI is required to get rid of tampering or spoliation claims effectively.

Obtaining Sufficient Experience

After completing your paralegal certificate program, you’d be hard-pressed to find a law firm or client that will give you a chance if you don’t have the necessary experience with e-discovery. While your certification and education credentials are great and all, you need all the experience you can get, mainly because it’s very new and most law firms are also just beginning to include it in their operations and require individuals with ample experience.

If you’re already working in a law firm, you could also ask if there’s an opportunity for you to work with e-discovery, even if it means assisting other paralegals and team members. Exposure is key.

Getting Proper Education

Once you’ve gained some experience, you might want to consider getting certified as an e-discovery professional? Take note however that plenty of organizations and paralegal schools offer certification and you’d need to spend some money and time, so do your due diligence before deciding on where to get your certification. Ask other paralegals for recommendations and more importantly, ask them how having that extra e-discovery specialization has helped their paralegal career.


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