The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP), a non-profit organization, will roll out its eDiscovery certification exam the second week in July. This certification exam has been in development for 18 months. It is a combined effort with some of the top eDiscovery experts throughout the U.S, Canada, U.K. and Taiwan.
OLP has partnered with Pearson VU, a $7 billion global education corporation with a highly sophisticated division dedicated to certification exams. We have a team of Ph.D.s from Pearson on board who apply the science of psychometrics – balancing the exam so that it is fair, unbiased and properly given. There are no affiliations with vendors, law firms or other entities. OLP provides the content, Pearson provides the Ph.D. team applying the science of psychometrics and the technology.
The Pearson Ph.D.s on our team were responsible for developing the LSAT, GRE and other well-known exams. This is not a situation where you go to a two day seminar at a vendor's facility and afterwards you are tested on what you learned in the past couple of days and pronounced "certified". The purpose of a certification exam is not to qualify someone as an expert. Rather, it is to test on an individual's core competencies. For example, once a person graduates law school and passes the bar, there is no guarantee that person is an expert in law. The passing of the bar indicates that this person understands and has the core competencies necessary to practice in the field.
The exam meets with strict standards from the National Association of Certifying Associations. It will be given in over 1000 secured environments around the world.
Who takes the certification exam? Attorneys, paralegals, litigation support professionals, case managers, consultants and vendors. The test is tough. You must have at least 3 years of hands-on ediscovery experience, 40 CLE units in the past five years or 5 years of hands-on eDiscovery experience. You must submit a resume that will be verified.
OLP also offers comprehensive, indepth programs offering a certificate of completion. These online, interactive courses (you can see and talk with instructors and other students) are anywhere from 3 weeks to 8 weeks long. You are given homework assignments and quizzes. The courses are taught by active practitioners and are highly rated. Instructors take months develop a course in order to bring students the very best education possible.
Since OLP is a non-profit organization, people are not involved with it for the reason of driving revenue. (Of course, non-profits can and should be profitable.) The purpose of a non-profit is to get as much quality education to as many people as possible, not as much revenue to the bottom line as possible. Therefore, the passing rate is tough. It serves no purpose for a non-profit to pass as many people as possible. With that attitude, the purpose of the certification exam then becomes meaningless.
While law firms do look at relevant experience, firms also look seriously at a person's education. On the job training has a lot of drawbacks – if that's all that you have. Combine on the job training with highly rated education and you will always have a winning combination.
For more information, please go to www.theolp.org. Thanks for your continued support. Because of it, OLP is able to grant a number of scholarships to well deserving students!