Focus and Practice to Prepare for Litigation Support

There is no quick fix or magic potion to becoming a litigation support professional. It takes time, focus, initiative and practice.

It is difficult to understand how many different facets there are to the role of litigation support until you've actually done the job for a while. Unlike some other professions that are more concise, this career is like the spokes of a bicycle wheel — it can take slightly different directions and have several concurrent tasks going on at the same time.

The instruction manual to litigation support can be tricky to create by a seasoned litigation support professional, so a person who wants to join the field is simply unable to figure out what they need to learn and in which order. I have received a number of e-mails asking questions like “what exactly do I need to learn” or “which is more important to learn first” or “I have these skills, what else do I need?” I have also received a few impressive e-mails from individuals who list what actions they have already taken to pursue a litigation support career.

I have been compiling a list of lesson topics for years in anticipation of launching this eLearning site. The list of topics can go on and on. I think of another one almost on a daily basis because that is how dynamic a career it is. Even though we do repetitive tasks, there can be nuances to a task that make it slightly different on a particular day.

I understand that some of you have a strong desire to get into litigation support as soon as possible. It is going to require significant focus and practice on your part to prepare for a litigation support position. There are a number of things you can be doing each week to familiarize yourself with the tools and tasks as you learn about them on this site or elsewhere.

For instance, it is not just a matter of reading about a tool or how it is used. You should take the initiative to use the tool yourself. The hands-on experience will help you retain what you learn. Some will say “I don't know what to do with the tool”. My advice is to get creative. Figure out how you can use the tool in your current job or in your personal life. Think of ways to force yourself to learn the tool in more depth doing tasks that are not litigation support oriented. The goal is to gain familiarity and a certain comfort level in using the tool. That way when the litigation support lesson topics come later, you won't have as steep a learning curve with the tool.

A person who can think of ways to use a tool outside of the litigation support role is showing their commitment to their desire to get into litigation support. You are bound to learn something simply by taking the first steps. Couldn't you think of something to “keep track of” in a Concordance database?

As an example, I wrote an article about Tools of the Trade – TextPad and it includes a DAT file that can be downloaded as well as step-by-step instructions. Upon reading the article, how many people took action? Over 15,000 visitors have been on this site to date and only 17 people have downloaded the DAT file in that article.

Do the work. Take the initiative. Download and install the free tools. Download and install the trial versions of software. Ask questions in the comments while using the tools. Visit all of the websites mentioned in the Resource articles and read through the knowledgeable information. Ask questions in the comments underneath the article if you don't understand something.

Google the acronyms you read about to learn the definitions. Did you know that by taking down notes of your thoughts or a learning process, you are more likely to retain the information? I would suggest typing your notes in a program that can then be searched against later. As you're learning a tool or a process, write down the steps so you can refer back to them later.

Consider this a pep talk. Take action today and share your accomplishments or questions in the Comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Amy. Any suggestions re a program that you can create searchable notes in? Please advise. Thanks!

    1. Hey Philip – Evernote is gaining popularity because it syncs to the cloud and all of our computers and devices, but I tend to use e-mail because it’s always in front of me. In Gmail I use “labels” to put all of my “notes e-mails” into one folder.

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