The summer season is officially underway so the last thing anyone wants to think about is school, right? Well, in the eDiscovery market, that is not true – education and certification is a hot topic. eDiscovery professionals are constantly asking eDJ analysts which programs to attend. eDJ launched a survey last month to understand what eDiscovery professionals think about training and certification in our industry and the preliminary results create some food for thought.
To date, 116 people have responded to our survey. Respondents cover the gamut of the industry:
- 43% law firm
- 21% corporation
- 18% service provider
- 5% software provider
- 3% government
- 10% other
By role, the breakdown is:
- 37% Litigation Support
- 21% Legal – Paralegal
- 18% Legal – Attorney
- 10% IT
- 5% Records Management
- 3% Compliance
- 6% Other
Perhaps most importantly, these respondents are active eDiscovery professionals – 84% deal with eDiscovery issues either daily or weekly at a minimum.
Overwhelmingly, eDiscovery professionals recognize the need for education and training programs. More than 99% of respondents think good programs are necessary in order to make the industry better. What we see with clients is a thirst for knowledge as the industry goes from being the wild west to a maturing market.
When it comes to certification, however, there is less consensus about a “need” in the market. Certification differs from education and training in that it is knowledge-based recognition of an individual who shows a competency on the guidelines, codes and standards as set by the certifying organization. A majority – 56% – believes that certification is necessary for the betterment of the industry, but 44% do not see the need for certification. Perhaps there is some cynicism in the market about certification.
After all, eDiscovery is a broad topic in and of itself. Outside of the forensic certifications, which are very specific, there are only two eDiscovery certifications on the market right now that we have come across in our research: ACEDS and The OLP. In looking through the data from our survey, there is not a clear preference from respondents as to which certifications they believe are necessary.
Recruiters that we have talked to see the need for education and certification, but also say that no one program has emerged as the silver bullet that guarantees a job and a salary boost. Recruiters look at the programs that applicants have attended as a way to gauge intellectual curiosity more than anything else at this time. That said, there is a general belief that the industry will gravitate toward a “go-to” certification (or certifications of more specific activities) over the next few years. What do you think? Comment on the article or take our survey.