Posts Tagged ‘e-discovery’

AAfPE South Central Conference

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I recently traveled to New Orleans for the American Association for Paralegal Education South Central Conference admirably hosted by Tulane University’s School of Continuing Education Paralegal Studies Program directed by Sallie Davis. My own presentation, I believe, went well. The conference overall was an excellent example of what professional associations can do for the profession – in this case the profession of educating paralegal students by providing opportunities for members to meet, network, and share knowledge.

I particularly benefited from the presentation by Ernest Davila, J.D., Paralegal Program Director, San Jacinto College, Houston, TX, on getting the most from time and financial resources, the Using Media in the Classroom presentation by Joni Johnson, Adjunct Instructor, Tulane University, and the Teaching E-Discovery: Practices and Pitfalls presentation by Lois Elliot, also an Adjunct Instructor at Tulane University.

Even though I’ve been through fairly extensive time management training, it seems as though I pick up something new at every time/resource management presentation. For those practicing paralegal who could use time and workload management assistance (and who cannot!) I suggest, of course, my own The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional”
and posts here in the related categories.

E-Discovery, of course, is becoming ever more important and complex. Practicing paralegals involved with e-discovery may want to join the Organization of Legal Professionals an organization that focuses on e-discovery training and certifications and The Paralegal Knowledge Institute’s courses on e-discovery. In the interest of full disclosure, I am associated with both of these organizations. I am on the OLP Advisory Council, although it seems to do quite well without my advice, and I have taught in a PKI webinar.

Perhaps though the best lesson I learned is that it is possible to go to New Orleans and have a great time without straying too far from my medical restrictions on sodium and alcohol!

Update on OLP e-discovery Certification

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

The Organization of Legal Professionals provides this update on e-discovery Certification:

  • The certification exam for non-attorneys in e-discovery core competencies is well underway.  A certification exam is a complex undertaking and many important decisions are made in the planning and development phase.  We expect to roll out the first exam by March 1st.
  • Training for e-discovery is being made available to The OLP members and non-members. Be sure you are on the mailing list for the most recent courses.
  • As previously discussed  here the need for expertise, and thus training and certification, in the e-discovery field continues to grow. So, watch for the opportunities provided by OLP.

    In the interest of full disclousure, I am on the OLP Advisory Council.

    The Paralegal Voice – Episode Three

    Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

    Practical Paralegalism announces today,

    The third episode of Legal Talk Network’s monthly podcast, The Paralegal Voice, “E-Discovery Trends in the Paralegal World”, co-hosted by “The Paralegal MentorVicki Voisin and Practical Paralegalism’s Lynne DeVenney, is now available. This episode, featuring Tom Mighell, legal technology expert and a consultant at Fios, and paralegal Dorothe Howell, a paralegal with extensive experience in gathering electronic data, as the expert guests, explores everything from the basics of e-discovery to what it takes to train for a career in this growing legal specialty area.

    The importance of understanding e-discovery in today’s legal practice cannot be easily overstated. In this regard, you should check out OLP, the Organization of Legal Professionals, a new organization presently focused on E-discovery Certification as previously discussed here. The professional paralegal makes a point of being up-to-date on important trends in legal practice.

    OLP E-discovery Certification

    Friday, August 28th, 2009

    In a previous post discussing the value of advanced paralegal certifications I indicated I would have more to say about the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP). Here it is from OLP itself:

    OLP’s PURPOSE: To promote the common business interest of the legal community, establish guidelines and standards for legal professionals on e-discovery and other topics, evaluate compliance with same, and serve as a resource on quality certification.

    The OLP is a non-profit organization establishing guidelines and standards for legal field, with an emphasis on e-discovery. The organization:

    Evaluates compliance with the standards;
    Recognizes organizations and programs which demonstrate compliance
    Serves as a resource on quality certification;
    Certifies educational providers that meet OLP’s standards.

    OLP’S VISION: OLP is an administratively independent resource recognized as an authority on standards for professional certification of individuals and organizations providing services and products to the legal industry.

    It’s the end of the week and I’m slowing down a bit, so I’m also going to let Chere Estrin of The Estrin Report and Know: The Magazine for Paralegals, give a further explanation of the reasoning behind OLP. This is from one of her communications on the topic:

    Today’s screaming for qualified e-discovery professionals has reached an unprecedented volume. Recently, Socha-Gelbman published an overview of the results of their annual survey on the Legal Technology News site. ( http://www.lawtechnews.com/r5/showkiosk.asp?listing_id=3296867 ).

    One of the most important single observations from it is the shortage of expertise in the market-place with providers, law firms and corporations reported as “fighting each other for the few people who actually understand what is involved in handling electronic documents”. That is significant because the lack of qualified professionals can only grow as a problem. Predictions of 20% or 25% growth in the field does not guarantee that a generation of skilled and knowledgeable people are simply going to pop up. …

    …As a result of this crying need from judges, law firms and vendors alike, a new non-profit organization, The Organization of Legal Professionals (www.theolp.org) has been formed for the purpose of providing an exacting and tough certification exam to establish core compentencies. This organization has assembled a stellar Board of Governors and Advisory Council to assist them. The names of these legal icons are the best in the nation and beyond.

    The benefits to law firms, legal departments and vendors alike are tremendous. Just a few include the delivery of higher level quality services; better adherence to risk management; lower malpractice rates; and assured competencies in a new profession that at present, has no barriers to entrance.

    In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I am a member of the OLP Advisory Council, so I am doing so.

    Which to Chose: Masters of Paralegals Studies or CP/PACE Registered Paralegal Certifications

    Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

    Megan M. has contacted me asking:

    I’ve recently read several posts on your blog site, and was wondering if you could provide your thoughts on the following subject:

     

    For a recent graduate from a Bachelor’s program in Paralegal Studies (ABA Approved program), do you believe it would be more beneficial for said student to next pursue NALA certification or instead pursue a Master’s degree in Paralegal Studies?

    The current economy has created a limited number of jobs,  and I wonder which “add-on” would help distinguish a Paralegal in a large pool of candidates?

     

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, either directly or via your blog.

    I would like to hear from practicing paralegals before giving a final answer on this as they are more likely to have relevant data on this than an academic, even one who practiced law for three decades. However, my initial thought is “it depends.”

    Certifications such as CP or CLA by NALA, PACE Registered Paralegal by NFPA, and PP (Professional Paralegal) by NALS are less expensive and faster to obtain than a Master’s, so they are more likely to “add-on” to your marketability in the economy as it exists now. No one knows what the economy will be like by the time you finish a Master’s.

    However, unfortunately there is a great deal of confusion among the Bar over what these certifications mean. Although the ABA has recognized these certifications, many attorneys have not yet become knowledegable about them. As I pointed out in a previous post, many attorneys are confused as to exactly what a paralegal is and can do in general. The present status of paralegal education is no less confusing to many attorneys. What is the difference, in terms of the work the paralegal can perform between a paralegal certificate, an associates degree in paralegal studies and a bachelors degree in paralegal studies? What does it mean to be certified? Is being certified the same as having a certificate? Who does the certification?

    Certificates of completion of a paralegal program can mean nothing more than that a person completed a few courses, but they are often confused with a person being a “Certified Paralegal.”  As NALA points out,

    Occasionally, paralegals call themselves “certified” by virtue of completing a paralegal training course, or another type of preparatory education. Although a school may award a certificate of completion, this is not the same as earning professional certification by an entity such as NALA. In this instance the school’s certificate is designation of completion of a training program.

    Most attorneys, on the other hand, are familiar with Master’s Degrees and are impressed by them, so a Master of Paralegal Studies may draw more attention to your resume than a CP or PACE Registered Paralegal designation. Also, you are likely to be able to obtain the CP or PACE Registered Paralegal designation fairly easily by the time you complete the Masters simply because you will have mastered the material necessary to take the exams and thus have both “add-ons.”

    Your state or local paralegal association may be able to give you information regarding the prevalence of CP, PACE RP, or PP paralegals in the area and the general awareness among the local bar of their significance. You may also check websites for law offices that list their paralegal staff and see how many have the CP, PACE RP, or PP designation. A firm with several CPs is more likely to recognize the value of the certification. In general the more sophisticate the attorneys in your area are, the more likely they are to understand the significance of NALA, NFPA or NALS certification

    By the way, there are advanced certifications for specific areas over and above the general CP certification. NALA, for example, offers Advanced Paralegal Certification in a number of competencies. There is also a new organization, The Organization of Legal Professionals, which is developing certification in e-discovery. (More on the latter, later.)