As we propel through an ever-increasingly digitizing world, more and new data types and sources join the eDiscovery landscape. The demand for eDiscovery specialists and professionals, in turn, also increases.
But how can you prove your speciality? One way is with eDiscovery training and certification programs.
Read on to learn more about the impact these programs can have on you, your legal team, and your clients.
Understanding Certification and Training Programs
eDiscovery training and certification programs typically fall into one of two categories: product specific programs and industry specific programs. A product specific program is usually offered by an eDiscovery provider and uniquely pertains to their platforms or applications.
Whereas industry specific programs are more broad in content, assessing how well you understand eDiscovery processes, compliance and regulation practices, information and data management, and much more.
Certification and training programs vary in difficulty and modality, depending on the provider. Programs typically range from introductory levels for students or individuals just starting out in the legal industry to mastery levels for eDiscovery veterans who have been working in the industry for years. Some programs are offered on-demand to provide more flexibility for the user, others are live or in-person, and some are a hybrid of the two.
The Struggles to Certify
While some law schools around the nation have implemented eDiscovery into their curricula, many schools still don’t provide any kind of formal education for students to learn how to prepare for legal proceedings with modern approaches.
Of course, data volumes are only going to increase and more cases and investigations will require the collection, preservation, processing, review, analysis, and production of electronically stored information (ESI). Thus, students and legal professionals must turn to independent certification and training programs to get the proper eDiscovery education they need.
However, eDiscovery certification programs are not always accessible. They can be costly and require a significant investment of your time. If cost is a barrier, consider persuading your organization to foot the bill. After all, furthering your legal education benefits everyone—as you’ll find below.
If you are constrained by a limited availability of time, look for self-paced and on-demand options to get the certification and training you need on your clock.
Credits & Value & Success, Oh My!
These programs come with a myriad of benefits for you, your legal team, and your clients, including:
- CLE Credits
Litigators are eligible to earn continuing legal education (CLE) credits from participating certification and training programs to further their legal careers. The amount of credits earned varies with the content and rigor of the program.
Oftentimes, a program will offer free memberships or partnerships for a designated period of time, access to member-only webinars and seminars, and additional eDiscovery content alongside their program courses.
- Higher Success Rate
With the proper training and understanding that is provided by certification programs, you’ll be better equipped to tackle challenging cases and investigations and serve your clients. You’ll also be able to avoid noncompliance with data management and security regulations, and avoid court sanctions or fees that follow noncompliance.
By completing a certification program, you demonstrate that you have met the needed requirements to be successful and improve your reputation within the legal industry.
- Higher Value Role
Certification and training programs allow you to become a subject matter expert. With product specific programs, you can develop great knowledge in niche areas of the legal industry. This not only benefits you, but provides a point of contact for your organization to rely on your newfound expertise. It also shows your organization that you are dedicated to your professional development and are someone to invest in.
- Individuality in the Legal Sector
Most programs come with a digital badge for you to display as a token of completion. These can be displayed on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, in email signatures, your resumes, and even on your organization’s website. These badges symbolize your greater knowledge, setting you apart from other eDiscovery professionals.
Now, you can use your expertise, experience, and badge to negotiate a promotion with a higher-paying salary to match or leverage them for new career opportunities within the greater legal landscape.
Selecting a Program for You
Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists (ACEDS)
The most highly regarded industry specific program provider is ACEDS, a Venio Systems partner. ACEDS is a membership organization dedicated to bringing together eDiscovery experts and providing world leading, unbiased eDiscovery education that expands across a wide range of topics. Certification from ACEDS is recognized and well received by law firms, corporations, and government agencies.
In fact, an ACEDS survey found that 63% of respondents were more likely to hire a candidate with Certified eDiscovery Specialist (CEDS) certification—the most rigorous ACEDS certification—over a candidate without one.
They provide three more education and training tools: eDiscovery Executive Certificate, eDiscovery Technology Certificate, and eDiscovery Advanced Certificate.
- Certified eDiscovery Specialist Certification (CEDS)
The CEDS certification is the longest running certification program throughout the industry. It focuses on 11 eDiscovery topics in correspondence with its 11 training modules. In order to be CEDS certified, you must pass the CEDS exam—created with the help of 40 eDiscovery experts.
The CEDS certification program is best suited for legal professions with three to five years of experience who would like to validate their eDiscovery skills, knowledge, and competency and get one year of free ACEDS membership.
- eDiscovery Executive Certificate (eDex)
The eDex certificate is awarded to those who complete the course. It is a foundational course designed to introduce a broad understanding of the eDiscovery process and is 100% online with interactive modules and lectures. The eDex certificate is best suited for legal professionals who are new to the eDiscovery industry.
Along with a digital badge and certificate for proof of completion, you get one year of free membership to ACEDS and are eligible for CLE credits, depending on which state you are in.
- eDiscovery Technology Certificate (eDTech)
The eDTech certificate is an interactive simulation course best suited for legal professionals and students who would like to evaluate their technical competency with practical exposure to eDiscovery software. It is fully online and provides access to one year of interactive eDiscovery software training modules. Those who complete the course are awarded a certificate and digital badge.
- eDiscovery Advanced Certificate (eDAdv)
The eDAdv certificate is an advanced course designed to demonstrate your knowledge of eDiscovery best practices and processes. The course is 100% online with advanced lecture modules, checkpoint quizzes, and a study guide. This certificate is best suited for legal professionals with several years of experience in the legal industry who do not wish to take the CEDS exam. Upon completion of the course, you receive a certificate and digital badge
Arkfeld eDiscovery Education Center (EDEC)
Another well-known industry specific program provider is the Arkfeld eDiscovery Education Center. The eDiscovery courses provided by EDEC reflect the acclaimed publications of Michael Arkfeld, an eDiscovery expert and prominent educator within the industry.
Their certification courses include Certified eDiscovery Master, Certified Eight Phases of Pretrial eDiscovery Specialist, Advanced Certified eDiscovery Specialist, and Basic Certified eDiscovery Specialist.
- Certified eDiscovery Master
As the highest certification from EDEC, this master eDiscovery course is best suited for legal professionals with a few years of experience wishing to further their knowledge and practice. The 10 week course is a combination of live video instruction, independent readings and assignments, quizzes, and a final exam. Individuals who complete this course are granted a certificate, digital badge, and are eligible to apply for CLE credits.
- Certified Eight Phases of Pretrial eDiscovery Specialist
This course demonstrates an understanding of a litigator’s perspective of the eight phases of pretrial eDiscovery. The eight phases are based on the eDiscovery Pretrial Guidelines Model and include:
- Phase 1 - Access eDiscovery resources and coordinate with service provider
- Phase 2 - Issue Legal Hold
- Phase 3 - Monitor client’s disclosure of ESI
- Phase 4 - Identify and search for responsive ESI
- Phase 5 - Preserve and collect ESI
- Phase 6 - Process and filter ESI
- Phase 7 - Review, analyze, and produce ESI
- Phase 8 - Admit ESI
The course is delivered solely on-demand through video content, independent readings, and quizzes. It is best suited for legal professionals that are interested in a phased case approach to apply their eDiscovery knowledge.
- Advanced Certified eDiscovery Specialist
The Advanced Certified eDiscovery Specialist certification is higher level and can be earned through the completion of two courses: Advanced IT for Legal Professionals and Advanced ESI Pretrial Discovery: Critical Issues, Strategies, and Tactics. It is an entirely on-demand program designed for students to go at their own pace through the video content, independent readings, and quizzes.
- Basic Certified eDiscovery Specialist
Similar to the Advanced Certified eDiscovery Specialist, this certification is delivered strictly on-demand and can be earned through the completion of two courses. However, it is the introductory equivalent designed for beginning and intermediate practitioners and the courses taken for certification are Basic IT for Legal Professionals and Basic ESI Pretrial eDiscovery: Critical Issues, Strategies, and Tactics.
These broad, vendor-neutral certifications from ACEDS and EDEC aid in hiring practices, advance careers, and provide a competitive advantage for individuals looking to set themselves apart.
Getting Certified with Venio Systems
Litigators are able to certify their knowledge and skill with the best-in-class eDiscovery software from Venio Systems. The Venio-Certified Administrator certification demonstrates knowledge, skill, and proficiency for all steps of Venio’s eDiscovery processes.
To become certified, you must complete a three day intensive training program and an exam. With Venio’s team, you will cover a complete rundown of the eDiscovery workflow from ESI collection to data production.
Schedule a free demonstration today to discover it all and become a certified eDiscovery expert.
About the Author
Akshita Singhal & Lianna Vaughan
This post was written by Akshita Singhal and Lianna Vaughan. Akshita is the Marketing Manager and Lianna is a Freelance Writer for Venio Systems. They produce industry-related content to advance legal education and encourage conversation.