Ropes & Gray has just hired its first e-discovery counsel, according to an article today in The National Law Journal. The firm has hired former Ungaretti & Harris partner Shannon Capone Kirk to lead its electronic discovery litigation practice group.
Kirk was previously chairwoman of the electronic discovery litigation practice group and a litigation partner at the Chicago-based Ungaretti & Harris. At the Boston-based Ropes & Gray, she will help the firm’s attorneys with legal and technical e-discovery issues and also help to develop e-discovery plans for ongoing cases. She will also help clients with document management and preservation policies.
Ropes & Gray said that it’s one of a handful of firms with lawyer dedicated to e-discovery issues. Whether or not that’s entirely accurate, can be debated. However, the real question is what does this mean for paralegals?
More jobs. Rarely do BigLaw Firms hire specialty attorneys without granting them assistance from paralegals. That points to a growth indicator in a specialty all of its own. Where do paralegals get e-discovery training? Mostly, on the job. Big mistake. You are only as good as your trainer above you and unless you get formalized training, you run the risk of degenerative training i.e., your trainer really is a 7 on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being best. You go into the position with a 7 training and being new, you may start out as a 5. Try training others, and they start out as 4’s.
Paralegals: get as much formalized, professional e-discovery training as possible. This is a huge growth area for paralegals. I am looking forward to the day when we have titles that designate certified e-discovery paralegals. These paralegals will have trained extensively, passed qualifying exams and can’t be beat when it comes to knowing technology, laws and best practices.