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E-Discovery Continues to Open New Paths for Legal Professionals On a Non-Traditional Education Path

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At Relativity Fest ’17, held last week in Chicago, I attended a panel on the future of preparing legal professionals to stay effective in the fast-changing world of e-discovery. Our own Mary Mack sat on the panel, along with David Horrigan from Relativity, who moderated the session. Other panelists included Patrick Burke from Cardozo Law School; Wendy Collins Perdue, Dean of the University of Richmond School of Law; William Hamilton, Professor at the University of Florida School of Law; and Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, US District Judge and Professor at St. Mary’s Law school.

There was so much great discussion, it would be hard to give any single part justice in one post, but one that stood out to me was a story Patrick Burke told about his experiences working with students who may be on a more non-traditional educational path that one might find in the usual approach to work in the legal profession.

He told a fantastic story about a student who had served as a Marine in Afghanistan and was now working on a law degree. Traditionally, a student studying law might be told by advisers that his or her previous military experience (unless it was perhaps in law enforcement) wouldn’t necessarily add to their legal resumé.  When Patrick asked the student what he had done in the Military, it was related to data management / technology, which – when put in the context of eDiscovery – was exactly the kind of relevant experience that would add to his legal training.

It’s no surprise at this point that the legal profession is changing. With the rise of electronic evidence and the need for technological know-how due to trends in the legal world (not only with eDiscovery, but with legal project management, metrics tracking, AI, etc) the traditional training of attorneys and paralegals is shifting. There will always be a need for attorneys well versed in the foundations of law which has always been a part of legal education, but there is now the need for attorneys, paralegals, and litigation support specialists who also have a solid understanding of the role technology plays in today’s legal landscape.

Read more on how ACEDS can help you develop your training in eDiscovery here.

Jim Gill’s writing about eDiscovery and Data Management has been twice recognized with JD Supra Reader’s Choice Awards and he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Before working in eDiscovery, Jim taught college writing at a number of institutions and his creative work has been published in numerous national literary journals, as well as being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

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