Our Experts | Sally Goodwin
Document review assignments can serve as a path of re-entry into the legal-based workforce after an extended absence, as an income bridge while running your own practice or as a revenue stream while conducting a search for a permanent opportunity. There are a number of potential circumstances during which temporary projects are a practical way to perform legal-related work, minimize employment gaps and generate income.
What can you expect in E-Discovery?
Practitioners need to be prepared for the possibility of delayed starts, early conclusions, hiatus’ in document flow (and hence income) and downtime between assignments. Additionally, securing that first opportunity may take some patience and persistence. However, once speed, accuracy, attention to detail and reliability are proven, it should become easier to gain additional work. Typically, an active law license is needed and prior experience is a plus.
Review projects utilize e-discovery software to electronically analyze and code discovery-related documents for matters such as responsiveness and privilege. A firm or corporation can hire anywhere from a few temporary attorneys to a large team in order to address this often time-sensitive need on a full-time basis. Assignment duration may run anywhere from a few days to many months (even years).
What are the requirements of the job?
The work demands a strong eye for detail, some technological agility and a tolerance for the repetitive nature of the responsibilities. There are numerous e-discovery programs but, they tend to be logically based. Therefore, experience with one should result in ease of use of others. Some of the software products do provide free access to basic familiarization and training tools on their websites.
Could this be a long-term job?
Electronic discovery opportunities rarely lead to direct-hire employment. However, there is an emerging trend. Some firms are creating staff attorney positions or engaging attorneys on a direct-hire basis at central business centers to specifically address their ongoing discovery needs.
While there isn’t a guarantee of direct-hire, E-Discovery work can be a great way to generate income while looking for something else, gain extra experience and earn credibility as a worker. It might not seem like the ideal position in the long-term, but it is a step in the right direction and puts your foot in the door.