Name: Julie Carmona
Location: Columbus, Ohio
What kind of work were you doing before litigation support found you?
I was a trial paralegal for about 13 years.
How did you get the opportunity to join the litigation support community?
I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2003 from Dallas, Texas and I had the opportunity to begin working with Julie Brown from Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease. I was working in another law firm and we worked together as co-counsel firms. She was the Litigation Technology piece of the puzzle to the litigation being worked up. At that time I did not realize that one day soon I would be working in her department at Vorys.
I expressed my interest to Julie Brown in litigation technology in 2006. I did not think I had a chance…I had NO technical background. I could not have told you what a PST file was, nor a DII file…I was a trial paralegal for goodness sake…I could take any attorney to trial though! Julie Brown encouraged me to try my hand at the position and I went for it!!! Here I sit five years later as an E-Discovery Project Manager working with what I feel is one of the most knowledgeable teams in the Lit Tech Community.
When did you realize that this career would be a good fit for you?
I had a Lit Support team back in the late 1990’s, early 2000’s that I worked with for a couple years in a Dallas law firm where I was employed. They really supported me with my Summation/Concordance databases and all technical aspects of trial. I REALLY counted on their support. I remember thinking many times that if I did not have their support, I would have probably crawled up into a ball and cried during many of my crunch times before and during trial.
I really wanted to learn how they maintained and loaded databases and the back-end technical stuff during trials. As litigation technology progressed I realized I had no choice but to learn the where, what, when and how litigation technology worked and that I really wanted to support paralegals and attorneys with the technological aspects of litigation. And then…along came this little thing known as E-DISCOVERY…I really wanted to figure out that piece of the puzzle! So, then I realized the career path was a fit for me.
Do you prefer to be out in front and working with the clients or behind the scenes working with the technologies?
My position at the firm I currently work for allows me to be out in front working with attorneys, paralegals and clients, but I can also work behind the scenes as well with the various technologies. I really enjoy doing both!
Is there an area of litigation support that had a steep learning curve for you?
In the paralegal world we live waiting for the next fire drill. In the Lit Tech world you have to slow down!!! It was very hard for me to change my thought process of “quick react..the attorney needs now”!! In the Lit Tech world, you have to stop, think and plan your processes (there are many) for the outcome of the work product or it will come back to bite you.
What do you consider to be one of the coolest things about working in litigation support?
I love to teach people and help people solve problems. I do this on a daily basis with the attorneys, paralegals and my fellow lit techies. I also love the fact that I learn something new everyday due to the ever changing ESI world!
Which types of employers have you had while working in litigation support?
- Law Firm
How many years have you been working in Litigation Support?
Care to share any words of encouragement or advice?
Stick with it! Become involved in the Litigation Technology Community…you will learn so much from your colleagues.