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August 01, 2011

Sham Exam?

C1pLTN070811_6x8[1] Our August issue of Law Technology News is now up and our cover story package is already causing quite some buzz.

"Sham Exam: Do your homework before you pay for e-discovery certification" is a package of four articles exploring the controversy about e-discovery certification courses and exams:

• Patrick Oot leads off, outlining critics' concerns that the courses/exams may be exploiting the most vulnerable members of our community — contract lawyers and paralegals — and may present ethics dilemmas for attorneys.

• Albert Barsocchini reviews the for-profit Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists course and test, coming to the conclusion that it's a step in the right direction, if imperfect.

• Monica Bay (moi) profiles the non-profit Organization of Legal Professionals, led by Chere Estrin, and its certification courses and exam; and also outlines Ralph Losey's E-Discovery Team Training, which is not a certification program but is a four-level series of courses that includes testing.

All three of us talk about the controversy in the August edition of my Law Technology Now podcast! Check it out!

Where do you stand? Hit comment below and let us know!

8/5 Update: With thanks for thoughtful feedback from the community, we have restructured LTN's August issue web edition presentation of the four stories so that you can access each component directly from the main Table of Contents. We have also added a fifth component, Reader Response, where we will post letters — the first being a statement from ACEDS with further information about its program.


Cover image: Mick Wiggins


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Thanks Monica. I have received many accolades for my article via e-mail.

Responses really make the hard work in writing the article really worth it.

My biggest problem centers around promises made by some organizations in advertisements. "XXXX Makes Careers" (replace XXXX with a certification acronym) - the statement is simply misleading to young attorneys and support professionals.

Generally, I think there are better options for practicioners.

For example, even non-attorneys can attend Georgetown Law's programs and have interaction with a dozen federal judges.

Also, there is nothing from preventing a professional from putting the education in a section of their resume:

Participant, Georgetown University Law Center Annual Advanced eDiscovery Institute (November 2009-November 2011)


The law school also offers reduced scholarships to professionals that can't afford to attend. Further, all law students get to attend free of charge.

If I was a job seeker, I think I would want the credibility of an academic or non-profit institution behind my training than a startup for-profit that lacks deep ties to the area of practice.

I think my idea is in-line with my interviews with recruiters in the area.I appreciate your response to this issues.


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