The most exciting component of my career change from the law firm world to joining legal technology has been the opportunity to work with skilled legal professionals across a variety of practice areas. My tenure in litigation support was mostly spent supporting, you guessed it, litigation. At times I would work with the occasional corporate, real estate, or bankruptcy matter to leverage some of my skills and use our eDiscovery software to manage the documents, but my job title essentially defined my role and responsibilities.
Now, in my consulting role at HighQ, I have developed a deeper understanding of some of the goals and challenges that practice areas like corporate, real estate and others face when pursuing their ultimate goal—delivering exceptional legal services to their clients. When I compare the different practice areas, it’s easy to see that the core objectives of all these groups are similar. And many of these departments are hungry for the innovation and project management that litigation support professionals can and have been providing to only a portion of the firm for years.
Litigation management requires a unique skill set that is tailor-made to prepare litigation support managers and litigation project managers to work across multiple practice areas. These skill sets can be broken down and applied to other practice areas to deliver more value to the firm.
A successful litigation support professional (LSP) is a legal project management expert. They understand the vital elements of project planning and execution. An LSP regularly works with time-sensitive deadlines and shoestring budgets. In addition, they have become accustomed to working strategically with adverse parties to deliver winning results for the stakeholders at the firm.
LSPs have spent their career managing discovery on high-stakes litigation matters. Many of them are also responsible for coordinating and managing trials and other legal proceedings. So how does this translate to a corporate transaction such as a merger or acquisition?
All the best practices and workflows that can be applied to a litigation discovery project can be applied to an M&A deal. LSPs can use their knowledge of technology to streamline the review of the deal documents through an automated workflow, like AI. Or the LSP can use their skills to create a straightforward way to leverage technology to assist with a due diligence review as well as manage deadlines and project task workflows in a collaborative, transparent way. They can also generate real-time status reports for the partners or clients. All of these components are necessary to deliver an excellent outcome for the legal team and ultimately the client.
Legal technology and software expertise
Litigation support professionals are well-versed in evaluating technology and making well-researched recommendations on software platforms. LSPs are continually besieged with information about the latest and greatest new e-discovery tools as well as every other litigation case management platform you can imagine.
LSPs have learned how to separate the products that are not only easy to use for an attorney but also provide a high level of security that is paramount to protecting the law firm. LSPs can use their skills in recommending new practice applications across the firm from a usability standpoint.
Making attorneys’ lives easier and making them look good in the process
One of the best traits of an LSP is the ability to work closely with attorneys. They have the experience to understand what the attorney needs and deliver it in the most straightforward way possible. Attorneys love it when you can solve their problems, especially with technology.
The ability to take complex problems, simplify them, solve them and then convert the solution into repeatable best practices is at the core of what LSPs do. An attorney’s desire to be efficient is universal. Most attorneys want to use legal technology to make their lives simpler, but they don’t have the time to create repeatable solutions. They have deadlines and billable requirements to fulfill, making it almost impossible to invest the time necessary to use technology to its fullest potential.
For the litigation support managers and eDiscovery project managers that want to spread their wings while expanding and solidifying their value in the firm, branching out to talk to other practice leaders in other departments is a good start. Motivated LSPs that apply their skills across other practice areas will add value and enjoy more visibility as they assist in delivering extraordinary client service.