Learning doesn’t stop with traditional educational institutions. Professionals balance day to day responsibilities with ongoing efforts to understand and incorporate industry developments, new methodologies and emerging technologies. Continuing education isn’t optional — it’s a survival strategy.
For corporate ediscovery professionals the first step is to choose your curriculum. Fortunately, there are myriad opportunities to expand your knowledge, no matter what learning style you prefer.
From the array of legal and technology conferences available to you, we’ve highlighted some of the best options. These conferences offer valuable information on the business, process, financial, legal, and technical concerns that inform in-house ediscovery practice.
- Legaltech NY. Held in New York City every January, Legaltech is the largest legal technology conference in terms of both presentations and vendors. Attendees range from solo practitioners to corporate legal leaders and IT staff, and while there’s something for everyone, expect to hear about advanced topics, like the ethical implications of using artificial intelligence to make decisions that affect people. In terms of vendors, Legaltech offers a smorgasbord, with hundreds of software dealers and professional services providers offering anything and everything that pertains to the technical side of ediscovery.
- PREX. On the opposite coast every September, Portland’s PREX focuses on providing actionable advice from corporate lawyers, business leaders and judges who have experience in the trenches of real-life ediscovery. The focus here is exclusively on in-house ediscovery, with a community developmental focus designed to speak to the needs of all corporate professionals that touch the ediscovery process, from CLOs to paralegals to information technologists. This year’s upcoming edition offers keynotes from CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel Judge Paul Grewal, and Linda Starr of the Northern California Innocence Project on top of team-focused content tracks addressing topics such as the changing roles within corporate legal teams, the ediscovery gaps within Office 365, and how to assess litigation readiness plans.
- CLOC. The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium holds an annual conference in Las Vegas in April that brings together corporate legal professionals from across the country. CLOC’s focus is on law department operations, not specifically ediscovery, but there’s always plenty for ediscovery professionals to learn — especially when it comes to integrating ediscovery software processes into the rest of the legal department’s workload. This is a great conference for paralegals, ediscovery managers, legal department operations managers, and, of course, attorneys. If you need more of an introduction to how technology such as artificial intelligence works and how it can improve the operation of your legal department, consider CLOC.
- ILTACON. The annual conference hosted by the International Legal Technology Association offers another opportunity to expand your horizons in general legal technology. Held in late summer, it’s a great way to keep up with the changes that have occurred since Legaltech. With a heavy IT focus, ILTACON focuses on practical, forward-looking, solutions-oriented technology. You’ll hear about up-and-coming tools, from data analytics to robotics, and learn how to apply them. Attorneys, you may be in the minority at ILTACON, but if you can step outside of your comfort zone, you’re bound to learn something new that will help your practice.
Educational and Certification Programs
If an organized program — either in person or via self-study — is more your speed, you’re in luck: as ediscovery has become a recognized specialty, more law schools have started developing educational programs geared toward ediscovery newbies and seasoned pros alike. Check out these options:
- The new eDiscovery Training Academy at Georgetown Law offers a weeklong in-person overview of the basics of ediscovery from both the legal and technological perspectives. With an impressive faculty list, this promises to become one of the best ways to gain a rapid immersion in the essential knowledge and skills of ediscovery practice.
- Duke Law and the Electronic Discovery Institute (EDI) are launching an Advanced eDiscovery study program that will culminate in a certificate for students who finish 10 online courses. Building from basic tenets to a deep mastery of best practices, this program will likely be instrumental in developing and dispersing new information.
- Other certifications are already up and running. For example, the Association of Certified E-discovery Specialists (ACEDS) provides an exam-preparation program, a certification test, and membership benefits for those who pass.
Websites and Blogs
For ongoing self-study, there are numerous resources available to anyone with an internet connection. Start here:
- Ediscovery Special Master Craig Ball writes on bothhis website and his blog, Ball in Your Court. Ball, a thought leader in the ediscovery world, is one of the faculty for Georgetown Law’s 2018 academy, but you can access much of his wisdom for free. His sites discuss developments in ediscovery case law, technology, and computer forensics.
- If keeping up with ediscovery law through case summaries is your focus, there are several blogs that provide varying depths of legal analysis. Bow Tie Law provides extensive notes and interpretation of important recent cases. Other worthwhile summary sites include the Electronic Discovery Law blog and E-discovery Law Alert.
- Duke Law’s Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) website explains the model we all use to understand and organize ediscovery. While you can join for a modest fee, their resources are available to all at no charge.
Whatever your needs or learning style, there’s no shortage of ways to learn about ediscovery. If you need assistance, or want to request insight into an ediscovery topic, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.