Posted by Adam Malanaphy, Project Coordinator at Glenmont Group
Litigation support is one of the best industries to be in. At the right firm, litigation support can have a very clear career trajectory, and a relatively high level of stability. The top-level employees at AMLAW 100 firms can reach well into the 200k range plus the best benefits in the job market and a long list of other perks traditionally found in the corporate environment. Over the course of the last year I have spent countless hours speaking to litigation support professionals across the USA. What I have found is that the majority of people in this industry take one of the following two paths.
The first group of litigation support professionals I will describe are very likely to have had an interest in the space early on in their career. These are people who may have pursued a major related to the industry in college, or may have spent time in law school before inevitably realizing that they did not want to practice. The typical trajectory we find here begins with an entry-level role like legal assistant or data processing before advancing to an analyst level, to specialist, to coordinator, to project management and on to litigation support manager later in their career (please note that the titles listed in the previous statement may be interchangeable from one firm to the next).
The second most common career trajectory takes a very different route. This group is less likely to have planned on basing their career within the litigation support space, but instead ended up here due to a specific need for their skillset. Now more than ever, I am seeing IT majors begin their career in the technical support departments of big law firms. Those that take this route learn the relevant technology through maintenance of review platforms and databases, then segue to a more operational role where their superior knowledge of the technical landscape can be applied in a more effective manner.
Regardless of which road one takes on their way to becoming a professional within our industry, it will take time and effort to rise to the top. That being said, we do see some candidates rise to the upper echelon much faster than others. In order to separate yourself from the rest of your peers it is important to have some sort of competitive advantage. I see the strongest advantages in candidates who have a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter relevant to their role, with an additional specialty that helps to distinguish themselves from their peers. This specialty can come in the form of trial experience, ability to speak various languages, knowledge of a specific technology, etc.
One must also consider the value of making calculated, strategic moves. It is very important to be sure-footed in one’s consideration of new opportunities because not every new position warrants consideration. Here at the Glenmont Group, we provide expert advice on open positions within the space. Speaking with a recruiter can offer tremendous value because we see the strengths and weaknesses of the top organizations from a bird’s eye view. We are constantly helping candidates find new opportunities, and in doing so – we see which firms people stay at for extended periods of time, which one’s cannot retain talent, and which firms offer the best opportunity for growth. Helping candidates make the right move at the right time is what our business is founded on. In many cases a new role can help one advance in title faster than they would by remaining in one role for many years, offer a 10-15% increase in compensation, and help reinstill passion in the subject matter by offering analysis from a different viewpoint.
When one stands back and takes a look at the litigation support space on a macro level, the benefits of a career within the space truly stand out amongst the many different industries which compose our economy. Whether you take the traditional route into litigation support, or you find yourself in the space via another avenue, the potential to earn a successful living is very high. Remember that learning a specific skill in addition to a foundation of the best practices and procedures within the industry can truly set you apart from the pack. Finally, when the right opportunity presents itself, be ready to seize the moment and proceed accordingly!