Value of Certification

The Value of Certification

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As the Summer meanders along, the hope is that everyone in the e-discovery community is staying cool and safe. Summer or not, we remain committed to providing the best training and education in the industry. And this week, ACEDS launches its annual Summer Sale, which is an opportunity for those in the industry who are interested in e-discovery training and certification to take advantage of discounted pricing.

It is appropriate, then, to remind readers and followers of the value of professional certifications. Not only can certification lead to a meaningful new role, it can also increase the value of one’s contribution to the legal process, and it can mean an increase in salary as well.

We frequently talk about e-discovery as a process that needs to be managed. And we do that because there’s risk associated with managing electronically stored information (or ESI). For instance, you need to make sure you’re preserving ESI properly, that it’s the right ESI, and that you don’t alter ESI during collection and processing.

There can also be huge costs associated with e-discovery, and most organizations are going to want the process managed cost effectively. In the end, there are a handful of things that need to be done right across the e-discovery process to effectively manage the risks and expenses and provide for a successful client outcome.

That’s where training and certification come in. Professional certification is valued in e-discovery because of the discrete steps that should be undertaken at each stage of the process. For instance, no matter where you are in the world, there are rules that govern the e-discovery process—civil procedure rules, criminal procedure rules, practice directions or other guidance from courts or law societies. To begin with, practitioners need to understand the rules.

There are rules relating to the scope and timing of discovery. In other words, what ESI must be collected and produced and when. The rules vary from one jurisdiction to another, but almost universally, parties are required to identify the key custodians and sources of ESI and preserve relevant ESI. Implementing a legal hold is critical to a sound, defensible e-discovery process.

Developing a discovery plan and understanding notions of proportionality are essential components of any e-discovery project as well.

And it’s important to understand the consequences for failure to take certain actions in discovery. We know that parties are required to preserve information, whether that information helps or hurts their case. But what happens if there are missteps?

If a party fails to preserve ESI, fails to produce ESI, or fails to cooperate in the e-discovery process, in most jurisdictions there are consequences. This could mean adverse inference instructions, fines, limiting of the evidence that can be presented, or in severe cases it could mean dismissal of a claim.

ACEDS training and certification teaches all of these things and much, much more.

Of course, certifications play a vital role in validating one’s knowledge and skill. But certification in e-discovery also enhances communication among legal teams, optimizes an organization’s operational efficiency, and ensures good outcomes for clients. In addition, certification helps legal professionals to stand out to hiring managers and to recruiters looking to fill roles in an active hiring environment. Actual work experience is surely important. But there is no better way to demonstrate the knowledge, skill and talent required in a professional role than through standardized, psychometric testing and certification.

And because certifications require continuing education credits, which signifies a commitment to ongoing learning and dedication to one’s craft, there is assurance that those who hold a valid credential are keeping abreast of best practices and the latest tools and processes in the industry.

For several years, ACEDS has polled its 2500 members and the results of these polls, published in our annual membership report, reveal the value of certification:

  • 96% of CEDS certified professionals believe certification improves their reputation and standing in the legal industry;
  • 92% believe certification validates their e-discovery knowledge and skill;
  • 88% believe certification has a positive impact on hiring decisions; and
  • 89% of hiring managers say they are more likely to hire a CEDS certified professional.

In the end, e-discovery training and certification signifies a commitment to ongoing learning and dedication to the sound, defensible processes in an area of legal practice that is only growing in prominence and scope.

Lastly, ACEDS also delivers more than 100 webinars per year on e-discovery and related topics. Members receive free CLE credit, access to a mentorship program, study groups, and other valuable benefits. And, we consistently develop resources that are useful to practitioners, like our ACEDS Blog, E-Discovery Checklists, The Definitive E-Discovery Buyer’s Guide, and the Canadian E-Discovery Salary Report.

Any questions about ACEDS, its educational offerings, or benefits, may be directed to [email protected].

What E-Discovery Industry Leaders Say About ACEDS:

“Not only does a certification help you stand out in a crowded field of professionals, but it is invaluable to your clients and colleagues.”

– Susan Jackson, CEDS, Legal Counsel for Commercial, Trade, and Information Governance at Novelis Corporation

“To me, [CEDS certification] proves competence in a very specialized and very important field. I’ve hired several people because they have the CEDS certification and it initially told me that they were smart and really knew what they were doing, and in every instance that actually proved to be true.”

Alvin Lindsey, CEDS, Partner, Hogan Lovells LLP

“If I had two candidates coming in for the same position, I would hire the CEDS Canada candidate over the other one because they have a basis of knowledge on which to train on.”

Ann Halkett, CEDS, Manager of eDiscovery Services, Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP

“A certification in e-discovery is extremely valuable right now because no one is providing standardized education in this area. States are now requiring individuals to have some level of technical competence without developing any standards and ACEDS is providing the only systematic and recognized certification available to satisfy this requirement.”

– Tom O’Connor, CEDS, Director of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center

“If you’ve been in the industry for awhile and you have different technology certifications, the CEDS certification is a good way to upgrade your current skill set.” 

– Carolyn Anger, CEDS, Senior Director, Consilio Canada

“E-discovery has its own terminology and people often use phrases without understanding their meaning; the CEDS exam provides professionals with the ability to learn the language of electronic discovery, which improves communication and understanding across the team.”

Julie Brown, CEDS, Director of Practice Technology at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

To learn more about CEDS certification and other ACEDS training programs, visit

Mike Quartararo on EmailMike Quartararo on LinkedinMike Quartararo on Twitter
Mike Quartararo
Mike Quartararo is the President of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the world’s leading organization providing training and certification in e-discovery to law firms, corporate legal departments and the broader the legal community. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery and has been successfully consulting in information governance, e-discovery, project management and legal technology for two decades, including 10-year stints at both Skadden Arps and Stroock. A graduate of the State University of New York, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS). He frequently writes and speaks on e-discovery, legal operations, project management and technology topics. Reach him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @mikequartararo.

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