eDiscovery Careers: Achieving Success as a Non-Attorney in a Law Firm: Find/Make the Right Environment, Part 1

By: Jane Gennarelli

Last week, I introduced a new series regarding achieving success as a non-attorney in a law firm.  One key to achieving success is being in an environment that permits it. In the next posts I’m going to talk about the type of environment that fosters growth and success. Let me make it very clear, however, that I am NOT suggesting you look at these posts and decide that it’s time to call a recruiter! There are a few things you should keep in mind as you read the first few posts in this series:

  • It is unlikely that any firm is going to be the perfect environment.
  • Even if you determine your firm may not be the best place to attain your ultimate goals, it may be exactly what you need today.  It may be the right place to develop essential skills that you’ll need.
  • If things aren’t in place at your firm today that would make it the right environment, that could be an opportunity rather than a negative. I’ll expand on that a bit later in the series.

So, my purpose in talking about “the right environment” is not to encourage you to start shopping around.  I’m discussing this so that if and when the time does come for you to move on, you can use these points as a guide for assessing firms you are considering:

  1. How significant is the litigation practice to the firm?  If litigation is a small part of the firm’s overall practice, that could hinder your chance for senior level status.  You’ve got a better chance of being noticed if you are working in a practice area that is very significant to the firm.
  2. How widely used is technology in the firm?  This is becoming less and less of an issue — especially at large firms.  Occasionally, however, I still run into firms that have a fair number of attorneys who just don’t want to use technology.  Don’t be concerned specifically about the use of litigation support technology.  If the attorneys are technically solid otherwise, this could be an opportunity rather than a negative.
  3. How aggressive is the firm’s marketing?  This is an indication that the firm recognizes the need to be competitive and has taken steps to do so.  Does the firm highlight litigation support and electronic discovery services in its marketing to potential clients?  If it doesn’t, this might be an opportunity rather than a negative.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with additional things to look at when assessing an environment. So, what do you think?  Do you have suggestions for what to look for?  Please let us know or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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About the Bloggers

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years of experience leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored many articles on litigation support issues, and has spoken before national audiences on document management practices and solutions.

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Doug Austin

Doug Austin, Professional Services Manager for CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years experience providing legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has also authored several articles on eDiscovery best practices.

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Jane Gennarelli

Jane Gennarelli is a principal of Magellan’s Law Corporation and has been assisting litigators in effectively handling discovery materials for over 30 years. She authored the company’s Best Practices in a Box™ content product and assists firms in applying technology to document handling tasks. She is a known expert and often does webinars and presentations for litigation support professionals around the country. Jane can be reached by email at jane@litigationbestpractices.com.

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