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Businesses today are generating more data than ever before. In fact, 94% of companies say that data and analytics are essential to the growth of their organizations — a trend that’s all but certainly going to increase in the coming years.
But while data is often valuable, it can also be a business liability. As companies take on more and more data, they also need to modernize their management and analytics strategies to protect their operations. To this end, many companies are now using eDiscovery analysts to assess and reduce risk.
In light of this, now is a great time to consider a career as an eDiscovery analyst. Read on to learn about what eDiscovery analysts do and how they are helping companies achieve regulatory compliance and settle disputes.
What Is an eDiscovery Analyst?
An eDiscovery analyst reviews, documents, and stores electronically stored information (ESI). They also prepare it for use in legal settings.
The eDiscovery analyst role is increasingly common in law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and eDiscovery consultancy agencies.
Why Demand for eDiscovery Analysts Is Rising
With the pandemic winding down, companies are facing a much different business landscape. For example, most organizations now support remote or hybrid work and rely heavily on cloud computing and connected devices.
While there are many benefits to working remotely, this scenario also creates substantial risk for businesses. In other words, it’s very easy for companies to lose track of data. And when this happens, it leads to issues like data breaches and compliance problems.
At the same time, companies face an ever-changing regulatory landscape. There are many different protocols today — like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), among others. These regulations change from time to time, and businesses need to keep up to date to avoid fines and penalties.
This is another area where eDiscovery analysts help companies understand changing regulations and stay out of trouble.
Yet, another trend involves streamlining early case assessment (ECA). Legal firms often deal with large sets of data at the beginning of a case, which makes it difficult and time-consuming to move forward with litigation. This is driving demand for analysts who can manage the process and reduce friction during ECA.
What Does an eDiscovery Analyst Do?
It’s important to realize that roles and responsibilities for eDiscovery analysts can change from company to company. For example, the work of an eDiscovery analyst for a small law firm will be a bit different than for one who specializes in regulatory compliance for a large corporation.
With this in mind, here are some of the general duties that eDiscovery analysts handle daily.
Reduce Data Volume
Analysts run data searches, inspect files, and discover information that’s most useful for a legal case. They also work to preserve information that isn’t useful so that it’s easily accessible at a later time.
Process and Clean Data
Analysts often need to comb through raw, unstructured data, process it, and turn it into clean and usable reports. As such, it helps to have a working knowledge of data management and processing if you want to move forward as an eDiscovery analyst.
Respond to Records Requests
Public and private sector organizations need to be able to respond quickly to information requests from other agencies, partners, customers, and watchdog groups. Analysts help to receive requests, find information, authenticate recipient identities, and share reports.
Prepare for Audits
Audits can happen at any time and come from a variety of sources. When they occur, they can slow down operations and also create significant stress for managers and workers.
This is another area where analysts can be particularly helpful by combing through data and finding relevant information for an audit. Using audits saves time, increases accuracy, and reduces the risk of data oversight and reporting errors.
Risk assessment is another area where eDiscovery analysts are very useful. To illustrate, one of the most common examples is during a merger or acquisition, when companies need visibility into various operations. Analysts play a critical role in issuing and responding to requests in a timely manner and helping companies determine whether to move forward with a transaction.
eDiscovery Analyst Career Prospects
To make it as an eDiscovery analyst, you need to have thick skin and an ability to work under tight deadlines. It also requires balancing customer and internal requests and working with other teams — including technical workers, managers, financial analysts, and executives.
While there’s no doubt that working as an eDiscovery analyst is tough, it’s also a rewarding and exciting profession. If you apply yourself and embrace the role, it can lead to a variety of opportunities in corporate, government, and legal environments.
With this in mind, here’s what you need to know before moving forward as an eDiscovery analyst.
Average eDiscovery Analyst Salary
According to ZipRecruiter, the national average eDiscovery analyst salary is now hovering around $93,126. The average hourly rate is $45 — a decent amount any way you slice it.
How much you make largely depends on where you work and the industry you're in. Generally speaking, you’ll make more in the private sector than with a government agency. Certain areas of the country also command higher salaries than others.
Before accepting a job as an eDiscovery analyst, it’s a good idea to explore the market and determine where you can make the most money and/or have the greatest impact.
Job stability also depends on where you work and your industry. Some eDiscovery analysts stay with companies for long periods of time, while others prefer to move around and gain more experience in different environments.
The nice part about being an eDiscovery analyst is you’ll have a range of employment options. For example, you can find full-time, part-time, and contract opportunities.
Seeing that eDiscovery analysts don’t actually practice law, you don’t need to have a law degree to pursue this line of work. Most eDiscovery analysts enter the field with a bachelor's or master's degree.
As with most professions, having a related degree can help further your career. But it’s more important to get your foot in the door and gain industry experience. You may start as an aid or legal assistant and work your way up to eDiscovery analyst. And if you have an exceptional skill set and drive, you may be able to jump right into an eDiscovery analyst role.
Working as an analyst can expose you to a variety of other eDiscovery opportunities. For example, you may decide that you like the technical side of working with ESI and choose to specialize in data extraction and preservation. Or, you may want to work as an eDiscovery manager or executive. Some analysts also take an entrepreneurial path and launch their own firms.
At the end of the day, you need to figure out what’s most compelling to you and pursue your passions.
How Software Makes Life Easier for an eDiscovery Analyst
Since analysts work with so much data, it can be difficult to move quickly and ensure both accuracy and integrity. For this reason, most eDiscovery analysts streamline the eDiscovery process with software.
For example, Venio Systems offers an end-to-end eDiscovery platform that’s fast, accurate, and user-friendly. This platform centralizes eDiscovery and makes it simple to search for and share data with other people.
With the help of Venio, you can have an easier time hitting deadlines and responding to requests. Simply put, it’s a must-have for any analyst who’s serious about maintaining accuracy and driving success.
To see how Venio can help you streamline the eDiscovery process, request a free demo today.
About the Author
Justin Reynolds, Akshita Singhal & Lianna Vaughan
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling. This post was reviewed and published by Akshita and Lianna, the in-house team of Venio.