For both organizations handling or moving ediscovery in-house and those enlisting the services of a third party, ediscovery certifications are set to become a distinguishing factor, as well as an indication of maturation in the market.
According to eDiscovery Group Lead Analyst Barry Murphy, IT, legal and ediscovery professionals are working within a fast-growing market that faces a dearth of expertise. A survey of ediscovery professionals conducted recently by his organization found that 98 percent of respondents “believe that good eDiscovery Training and Education programs are necessary to advance the maturity of the industry.” When Murphy’s survey broke certification out from education, 58 percent of survey respondents said they believe “eDiscovery certifications are necessary for the betterment of the industry,” and 55 percent said good eDiscovery certification programs currently exist.
It looks like there is keen interest among ediscovery professionals in standardized educational and certification programs, and Murphy is gathering anecdotal information from professionals who have completed one or more certification programs, which will be a series worth following.
From the point of view of the potential candidate for certification, says Murphy, ediscovery certifications in the jobs market at this time “showcase a candidate’s intellectual and professional curiosity,” rather than serve to move an applicant’s resume to the top of the pile or garner a higher salary. Experience gathered on the job builds the well-rounded skill set firms desire.
From the point of view of the clients and potential clients of ediscovery providers, the fact that a provider has invested the necessary time and funds to certify its specialists may be a differentiator.
Today, for example, Business Intelligence Associates, Inc. (BIA) announced that all members of its professional services management team have passed the ACEDS exam and have been credentialed as a Certified eDiscovery Specialist (CEDS). The exam was created by and is administered by The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), a vendor-neutral, independent organization. BIA plans to next certify all of its sales professionals, as well. In its release, BIA’s Senior Vice President of Professional Services, Adam Feinberg, notes that “it’s not enough to solely compete on price or support.”
Since its creation two years ago, ACEDS has certified the staffs of a number of providers of ediscovery services, and will hold its second conference in February 2013.
In evaluating providers who have invested in certifications for their ediscovery specialists, or evaluating for in-house staff development, due diligence on the differences between certification programs from organizations like ACEDS, The Organization of Legal Professionals, or others will become more common.