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September 17, 2009

Cowen Group Optimistic about EDD Hiring

Resume The Cowen Group has launched a newletter, "The Career Corner," and leads off with a report on career trends, by Jared Coseglia and David Cowen.

After recently polling 100+ HR and lit support managers/directors (and subsequent conversations with these folks and senior EDD attys and mgrs) they ID three "hot trends:"

1. Demand is exceeding talent on the West Coast by a factor of 3:1: 32% of law firms in the U.S. "expect to add litigation support staff within the next six months — and 44% of these openings would be in the West Coast."

"Openings that already exist are going unfilled. From 2006-2008, it took an average of 8-12 weeks to fill an open position for an analyst, specialist, or project manager in California. Today, it takes six to eight months — or longer — to fill these positions with many openings unfilled since February 2009. There is simply not enough experienced talent to satisfy demand on the West Coast."

They predict that the demand will result in salary spikes, as much as 10%-20% "to attract the necessary talent away from local firms or relocate the East Coast talent."

Another prediction: As vendors Darwin-out (i.e., consolidate or collapse)  talent from that community may migrate to firms.

2. Expect growth also in in-house EDD posts, fueled by a growing demand for folks who can develop EDD practices "tailored to needs of specific corporations."

"The growing interest and search for corporate E-Discovery Directors is a strong lead indicator of future demand for E-Discovery technicians," they say. "These new departments, once visualized, will need analysts, specialists and especially project managers to actually execute the strategy."

3. "There is an emerging flexible staffing model among law firms, vendors and corporations. Organizations need more talent to meet their client's needs during a surge of active litigation, but they do not want to add permanent headcount to their staff."

Watch for more temps. "This is an historic trend traceable after any economic recession. Companies across all industries are displacing some of their economic uncertainty onto new hires; however, flexible staffing has advantages for both employee and employer."

And expect more training, whether you are full time or temps. This will be especially advantageous to temps, the authors suggest,  will take advantage of training by the new, rotating employers. "These new skills and experiences a temporary employee can 'add to their tool-belt' often serve them well as they continue on from contract to contract, making them more eligible for more opportunities."

Observe Cowen & Coseglia: "The opportunity to make a positive impact at the crest of a litigation at a new employer can have powerful repercussions.  Your hard work, ability, and willingness to go above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty will not go unnoticed."

For more information, visit Cowen's OpportunityKnocksBlog


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Regarding item #2, "folks who can develop EDD practices." This is vital and, in fact, should start well before discovery is an issue. Well thought-out retention policies are key to smooth ediscovery processes. And, just as important, is the ability to enforce those policies.

At this stage of the game, it might seem we should be beyond needing to stress the importance of policies, but look at the email deletion scandal that came to light in the Boston mayor's office last week. These folks went to the trouble and expense of purchasing email backup software but did not develop an email retention policy.

Christa C. Ayer

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