The eDiscovery Solution: Legal Project Management for Paralegals


Law firms are looking for paralegal candidates with backgrounds in hot practice areas, including eDiscovery, according to Robert Half Legal’s 2016 Salary Guide. That’s good news for eDiscovery professionals. But to truly shine among your peers, you need more than eDiscovery skills — you need to know how to employ them seamlessly.   

This might come more easily for the seasoned professional. But if that’s not you, training in legal project management can help you gain the technical skills required to meet the ever challenging objectives in eDiscovery. Even if you do have years of experience, a formal program can impart best practices and give you the foundation to take on greater roles in legal project management, boosting your value as a paralegal.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from training for a project management certificate.

What you’ll learn

Many paralegal studies programs such as Georgetown’s course in Legal Project Management can qualify students to test for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or the gold standard Project Management Professional (PMP) credential from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

A typical paralegal PMP course covers the five basic project management phases — initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and completion — while focusing on implementation in the legal field. Project management studies also address topics as varied as risk management, human resources and cost control.

During your course of study, you’ll gain experience in aspects of legal project management — from staffing to choosing an eDiscovery vendor — that will help you provide the best value to clients. You’ll also learn how to better incorporate risk management into your projects, which is especially important in terms of eDiscovery.

How you’ll use it

While every legal project requires careful planning and implementation, eDiscovery projects can be especially challenging. Legal project management training can help you manage and control the outcome of a project by implementing steps that could be neglected with a less-focused approach, including:

  • Verifying all hardware and software needs in the planning phase, so errors are caught when they can be corrected affordably and efficiently
  • Reducing the sorting, tagging and cross-referencing of relevant electronically stored information (ESI) into smaller, more manageable assignments, which improves project member performance
  • Keeping communication restricted so that eDiscovery project data leaks are avoided and/or traceable
  • Ensuring ESI is thoroughly analyzed, reducing the amount of missed or misinterpreted information
  • Controlling costs through careful management of resources and allocation of employees
  • Minimizing unnecessary or wasted effort by team members

Robert Half Legal’s latest Future Law Office research makes it clear that legal professionals will be facing ever-increasing eDiscovery challenges as time goes on.  This may mean that more paralegals are tasked with eDiscovery management, regardless of prior training. Preparing now for eDiscovery project management could put you ahead of the curve.

For a closer look at some of the challenges and opportunities facing legal professionals today, access your copy of Robert Half Legal’s Future Law Office 2020: Redefining the Practice of Law.

Tags: eDiscovery