Litigation Support - What does the future hold?

The Association for Litigation Support Professionals (ALSP held its inaugural Fall Forum this past week in Chicago. The ALSP has the mission of establishing the litigation support profession as a legitimate profession with standards and principles. Though there have been and still are many organizations that cater to the litigation support community (see, ALSP is the first to formally pursue a standardization goal for the practice as a whole.

The Fall Forum was the first event for the national ALSP that focused on education and collaboration. The event followed the typical session format of educational conferences that are familiar to any conference frequenter. The depth and breadth of the panels spanned the spectrum of both experience and relevance to advocacy and thought leadership. The attendance was around 120 or more and those were made up of a complete mix of individuals within the litigation support community.

The challenge that ASLP and for the matter the litigation support community as a whole is faced with is taking an otherwise new, highly mobile (attrition), broadly defined group of individuals who work in corporations, organization, government and possible every iteration of business imaginable and constructing for them a set of applicable standards and practices that will help define the profession itself. Speak to any litigation support professional and more likely than not one will hear things that are reminiscent of then IT was a new and burgeoning profession. The filed is ripe with high attrition rates, lack of job descriptions, catch all practices, and feeling of isolation and misunderstanding as to its value and function. A sure sign of a young profession/practice.

Litigation Support faces the same issues any new profession has and the main one is recognition. Recognition by the communities they serve and work with as well as recognition by and among peers. To be clear there is a lot of self dealing that transpires within this arena but often it is a necessary step in order for experienced individual to take the next step into higher roles and higher paychecks. Promotion from within is still a rarity rather than the norm. Think free agency in profession sports and one will have a grasp of what the current landscape looks like in litigation support.

The Fall Forum illustrated all of this and ASLP is on it game for at the very least getting this group together and attempting to have thoughts exchanged in a manner that might lead to consensus. While most of the sessions presented practical information on such topics as marketing litigation support to your firm, wrestling with various ediscovery issues, and career pointers. Other sessions presented material that was not practical in the typical sense but was thought provoking and prodding. The session that this author presented was intended to provoke thought and present tools/concepts that will aid individuals to not simply get through their day but to contemplate and plan for the next day and next year within their profession. The theme was based on scenario planning and future analysis. The material was based upon the Legal Transformation Study and co-presented by Stephan Hagelauer of Decision Strategies International and Joshua Kubicki then with Solomon Page Group LLC but now an solo legal strategist.
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