Shadowing in Litigation Support

As a litigation support manager, I firmly believe that individuals new to the litigation support field should be given every opportunity to be successful. One of the ways that I like to work towards that goal is to partner the newbie with someone more senior on the team. One of the best ways to learn is by shadowing someone else.

The newbie can observe meetings with attorneys and learn what questions to ask, how the consulting process works, and how we gauge the timeline.  The newbie can observe telephone calls with vendors and learn how the instructions are discussed as well as how turnaround times are agreed upon.   There can be a period after the meeting or phone call where the newbie can ask questions or get clarification on an issue.  This shadowing period can go on for several months until the newbie feels comfortable taking a meeting on their own.  I usually ask them if they are ready and I don't force them to do it on their own.

This process works well.  The newbie is more likely to be successful.  The team as a whole functions better, in my opinion.  There is more consistency in how litigation support services are provided because some on the team are learning from others on the team.

I have heard of situations where newbies are hired and then not given enough guidance, supervision or mentoring in their first few months.  It can cause undue stress all around on the team and confusion for the team's clients.

If you are a newbie to the litigation support field or a newbie to a law firm or service provider that you recently joined, I would suggest that you ask your manager to assign someone that you can shadow.

If you are a senior litigation support professional and there is a newbie on your team, I would suggest that you offer to let them shadow you.




  1. Excellent suggestion Amy! Many is the time that wished that I had had somebody to shadow, not just in the legal industry but in other industries as well. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Philip.  I hope that litigation support departments that are not doing this already will implement it.  It’s a win win in my book.

  2. As a newbie, I would jump at the chance to shadow an excellent litigation support manager and take in all that I could learn from that experienced manager.  This is a great article and hopefully many will follow the suggestion.  Thank you, Amy! 

    1. Thanks Judy, I hope one of the litigation support managers takes you up on this! I can’t wait for you to get your first position in lit support.

  3. Great article. Thank you for all you do for us newbies! Unfortunately my lit-sup team is in Richmond and I’m in Raleigh…:(

    1. Hey Jose – Thanks for the comment. It’s certainly more difficult with people spread across offices, but as the manager, I used to bring people together for a period of time to get some shadowing accomplished. I know some managers and some firms don’t see enough of the benefits to make it happen though.

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