Peaks and Valleys

When I first started in litigation support, the workload was fairly light and there was still uncertainty as to what services a litigation support professional would offer to the legal teams. As the years passed, the workload increased and the team grew.

Several years after litigation support became a recognized role, the workload would either be really busy for months or it would take a dip and slow down for a few weeks. We use the expression Peaks and Valleys to describe our workload. Actually, the litigation support industry as a whole experiences the Peaks and Valleys as well.

Depending on the size of the litigation support team, the Peaks in workload could be overwhelming. It can be a tough call as to when to add new team members because the Valleys could happen at any moment. Projects thought to be arriving soon never appear or a busy litigation case settles.

During the Valleys there is usually a back log of tasks to catch up on, mostly administrative filing and tracking tasks that couldn't quite get done during the Peaks. We also use the Valleys to do research on new technologies, new products and to set up demos with service providers.

There will be stretches of time where the Peaks definitely out number the Valleys. When that happens, it is usually a hint that it might be time to consider adding a new team member. I worked on one large case for 6 months and my friends and colleagues wondered where I went. When I experience a Valley, I make a point to be thankful for the short-term break and I make sure to schedule a bunch of lunch dates while I have the opportunity.

How do you take advantage of a Valley in litigation support?



  1. I’m just starting in Lit Support and am lucky that we are in a valley so I can get up to speed as I transition to these duties from IT. Good to know that it’s not just us that experiences these ups and downs. I have done more research and webinars since February than I think I have done in years combined.

    1. Sounds great, Chris. Appreciate the valleys when you can end your work day at a normal hour.

  2. Hi Amy:

    ‘Peaks and Valleys’ is also descriptive of law firm work in general as well. You’re going to be sitting there with nothing to do but send out that “Anybody got anything I can do?” email. That’s okay for short periods, but if you end up doing that for months at a stretch, look out -maybe it’s time to look for another job.

  3. Walter – How did you do on the 10 traits in the eBook? Also, take a look at my article on the 5 Tips to Breaking into Lit Support. Networking is key too.

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