by Wendy King - Kroll Ontrack on August 09, 2016
While attorneys are required to stay up-to-date on emerging issues via continuing legal education (CLE) credits, there’s no such requirement dictated for the litigation support profession—unless, of course, you count industry demand.
That doesn’t mean formal, ongoing education isn’t important; in fact, our team has learned it makes us more successful in more ways than one.
1. You feel more confident and engaged at work and with clients.
When your day-to-day job relies on software, keeping up with new features is a critical component of offering the best results. There is no better way to learn and feel comfortable with the tools than to get certified. Certifications can validate your expertise, while also helping you stand out in the eyes of your company and the industry at large, making you a strong player in a rapidly growing field.
By carving out time for formal training, you’ll do more than just prove your knowledge of the point-and-click aspects of your job. You’ll also learn the ins and outs of the latest technology. For example, I can absolutely see the confidence gained by my colleagues as a result of preparing for and taking the Relativity Certified Administrator exam. It’s a confidence that stems from knowing you have the knowledge and ability to craft modern solutions to emerging challenges.
In fact, Kroll Ontrack has a boot camp-style training that lasts 10 weeks and formalizes weekly assignments, hands-on learning labs, and practice exams to help folks prepare for the RCA exam. This codified approach has increased our pass rates to nearly 90 percent, made the work less stressful, and established a mindset of continuous learning in our organization.
2. You meet new people who can benefit your career.
Especially when it comes to attending industry conferences, ongoing education provides opportunities to connect with the e-discovery community. Conversations with peers lead to a better understanding of different perspectives on e-discovery, enabling you to anticipate challenges and solve them to the best benefit of your case team and clients.
One of the things I appreciate about Relativity Fest, for example, is the opportunity to engage with other RCAs and highly certified Relativity folks. It is quickly evident that knowledge gained from certification really benefits any discussion that takes place around client challenges and solutions—it allows you to provide alternative points of view and be part of a creative solution dialogue.
In addition to opening your eyes to unique perspectives that will help make you more creative in your work, networking can ultimately mean greater success for your business and your career. I’ve found that the knowledge gained through certification elevates and enhances the conversation, whether I’m working with case managers, developers, or IT contacts both inside and outside of the organization. A deep and holistic understanding of how your platform works, especially from the end user perspective, lets you skip the rudimentary explanation phase and dig right into creatively solving challenges.
Since litigation support relies so heavily on cross-functional success—whether you’re working with law firm partners or IT directors—this extended network can also help you get to know your neighbors in the industry.
3. You strengthen relationships with the co-workers who train with you.
Especially if you take advantage of interactive webinars, live sessions, or mentorship from a senior colleague, continuous learning builds healthy habits that foster cross-functional success.
We have seen a stronger and more collaborative team emerge since implementing our formal training program. Previously, we felt tempted to learn in a vacuum—struggling to set aside the time and find the right resources on our own. Now, colleagues are more willing to reach out to each other and ask questions. Our developers, case managers, and IT folks all get together to talk about workflows and they know who to reach out to with questions. It’s become organic, and it’s making our team more cohesive.
You’d be surprised how many smart people are sitting just around the corner. Seek support from your manager as well as colleagues of all backgrounds, and you’ll see a ripple effect of benefits.
4. You develop a unique skillset through a custom combination of courses that matter to you.
Professional education can’t be one-size-fits-all. Leverage the training material available through your software vendor and at tradeshows, but also consider your personal interests and your organization’s priorities to customize your approach.
For example, say you’ve achieved the certification you had in mind. Can you learn more about how your work fits into a larger case team’s priorities? If so, attending beginner-level sessions in an attorney track at an upcoming industry conference might provide some insight.
If you’re customizing a training curriculum for your internal team, check out this video for some first-hand accounts of how our team has benefitted from a formal training program. Hopefully it will inspire your team to jump into the continuous classroom, too.
Wendy King is product director at Kroll Ontrack. She has more than 15 years of experience in the legal industry.