From Contract Attorney To Manager And E-Discovery Expert – The Document Review Improvement Plan – PART ONE

Meet Alexander Hafez – a fellow contract attorney / document reviewer, based in D.C. Alex, a vivid Contract Attorney Central follower, as so many of us, is currently considering leaving the rather tedious and mundane part of the industry, aka basic document review and is looking into his options of securing a project manager position on a document review project

Alex contacted Contract Attorney Central via Twitter and asked for suggestions as to how to approach the move from a document reviewer to a project management position on a document review project.  Alex also shared his experience in trying to secure positions with vendors.

We love our readers reaching out to us and do appreciate their time and effort in actually contacting us.  Hence we asked Alex to drop us a quick line via Contract Attorney Central’s contact form so we could get down to business and try to answer his questions. It turned out Alex did have some questions but he already had taken a lot of steps and and put things in action to make this transition. Over the course of our conversation, Alex was so kind to share a lot of very interesting and helpful information which we would like to share with our followers.

Over the next 3 posts you will get the full exposure to our conversation with Alex, a heap of very useful tips and some amazing recourses which are priceless if you are seriously considering entering the vendor side of business. The aim of the following series of posts is to provide those of our dear Contract Attorney Central followers, who like Alex, are considering such a transition, with a helpful document review improvement plan.

Here’s Alex’s initial email to Contract Attorney Central:

“Following up on my tweet from earlier today, I just thought I would reach out and see if you guys had any advice for making the transition from lowly document review contract attorney to slightly-less-lowly project manager.  For some brief background information, I have been on the D.C. contract review circuit for just over a year now, after getting laid off from my medium sized IP boutique firm job (where I also did a fair amount of doc review as part of my duties).  The work is fine, really; I’m not the type to complain about this work as I am truly grateful to be able to provide for my family in these lean economic times.  However, I also know that this work really isn’t furthering my career either.

It was under these circumstances that I decided that I would give up on my scattershot approach to applying for jobs, and instead buckle down and focus in on forging a career in ediscovery, starting hopefully with project management and going on from there.  However, this presents me with the classic catch-22 situation where employers are only looking for people with x years of experience, and yet no one will give you the opportunity to get your foot in the door to gain said requisite experience.  I have started a course of self-education, researching the IT and management side of the business listening to podcasts and reading books on the subject.  And most significantly, I am currently signed up to take Georgetown Law’s “eDiscovery Training Academy,” a weeklong CLE/boot camp next month.  Still, I’m looking for any extra advice or information that people in the business are willing to pass along.

And so, with all of that said, if you guys have any wisdom to impart I would love to hear it!”

Alex’s email certainly gave us something something to think about, so watch out for our next post in which Trevor, one of the brains (and in his case also muscles) behind Contract Attorney Central, will share his personal and very interesting take on the transition from document review contract attorney to project manager or e-discovery expert.

In the meantime – as always – please share your thought and comments below so we can build a helpful and vivid contract attorney knowledge portal. Have you taken steps yet to escape the rat race or to climb up within the document review and e-discovery industry? If so what action did you take? If not, what are the steps you are thinking to take?

7 thoughts on “From Contract Attorney To Manager And E-Discovery Expert – The Document Review Improvement Plan – PART ONE

  1. I am a contract attorney myself and working on my get the hell out of doc review plan. Your article, well as far as part 1 goes, seems to focus a lot on either getting promoted in doc review or trying to join a vendor. Both is not what I am looking for as I grew tired of the discovery industry. I am more looking into becoming a real lawyer again. Any  suggestions from your side would be much appreciated.
    Thx Elke

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    • Dear Elke, thanks for stopping by and for commenting on Contract Attorney Central. We do have already posted a few posts regarding about escaping the contract attorney world and also in particular one post giving tips as to how to approach the quest for the famous ‘permanent position’. Check out our post “How Long Can I Document Review For Before It Becomes Toxic” and pretty much to the point for your goals: “Contract Attorney To Associate – How To Climb The Ladder In A Firm And Get A Permanent Job“. We hope you find this helpful.

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  2. This is very interesting. Although I cannot profess to understand all of the ends and out of the legal profession. However, I can very much relate to the difficulties in transitioning from one profession or opportunity to another. We get pigeonholed in what we have done in the past with, little to no consideration of the value of the transferable skills we have to offer. Sigh, Susan

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    • Thank you very much for your comment Susan. The lack of consideration of past experience combined with a very high level of expectations in skills for a role to fill seems indeed to be a general issue. Sometimes one wonders who does actually tick ‘all the right boxes’ for some roles. The only way to go is probably just trying and trying.

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  3. Project management is a profession and applying those skills to e-discovery sounds like a great idea. Further expanding e-discovery processes and procedures to other discovery efforts should be considered. For example I am looking into an effort to digitize thousands of pages of a historical figures papers stuffed away in hundreds of boxes. This is a project that requires project management, document management and technical skills to complete.

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    • We couldn’t agree more with your point regarding the complexity of discovery processes, Michael. It is indeed a very exciting industry and offers a wide range of opportunities for people with various backgrounds, such as tech or law but also business development or ‘traditional’ project management.

      Your project sounds very interesting too and only shows the wide scale in which e-discovery can be used nowadays.

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  4. Pingback: From Contract Attorney To Manager And E-Discovery Expert – The Document Review Improvement Plan – PART TWO | CONTRACT ATTORNEY CENTRAL

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