International #EDiscoveryRockstar CEDS Spotlight – Canada: Kathy Dallaire, Paralegal – Coordinator Litigation Technology Support At Lavery, De Billy, LLC

eDiscoveryRockstar- Kathy Dallaire

Please share your thoughts on the certification training, how long it took you to prepare for the exam, thoughts on the exam and how it has benefitted you- both the knowledge gained from training and certification and being part of the ACEDS community as a whole. (Whole experience)

I first became aware of ACEDS a number of years ago while preparing a business case for implementing litigation support services within our firm to centralize ediscovery services and support in-house as well as to standardize procedures and policies.

Since I still had a full schedule of paralegal work with trials and hearings, it took more time than anticipated to actually get to setting up our litigation support capabilities and eventually to the CEDS training and certification.

In light of my caseload, it made sense for me to split the training in two parts.  I took and successfully completed ACEDS’ ediscovery Essentials training in early 2017.  I found it to be just the right measure to encourage and push me to want to actually get certified.

My actual review of the materials for the exam began slowly in April of this year.  The materials are extremely well prepared and well written.  I registered for the live preparation seminars in June although I had not yet gotten through all of the materials.  The live sessions were given by Helen Bergman Moure and I was able to participate in all three.  To say the sessions were good and of value would be an understatement.  Helen was able to tie all of the information together in a logical and meaningful manner, with examples and real-life experience.

Finally, I decided to use a week of vacation time to review what remained of the materials and study for the exam.  I scheduled the exam for the Friday of that week and I planned to be completely ready.  I definitely underestimated the time it would take for a meaningful review but I was determined to get through it and make it to the exam as scheduled.  It made for long days and long nights but I actually enjoyed it and was totally immersed in the materials.  The legal framework was completely new for me as we have a different legal system, but the information was clear and concise.

As further preparation for the exam and following Helen’s advice during the preparation sessions, I printed and read through the relevant sections of the FRCP, including the Committee Notes on the Rules – this was essential advice.  I also took the practice exam as well as the “Test Your ediscovery IQ” questions on the ACEDS website which I found extremely useful in terms of the type of questions.  I read through other CEDS’ experience with the exam, including Mary Mack’s and I watched the prerecorded videos of the preparations sessions, again.

I was nervous, to say the least, but I got through the exam.  I agree with the advice given by others:  answer all questions, and time is of the essence.  The four hours passed quickly and when I reached the end, including time to review those questions I had marked for further review, I had only 10 minutes to spare.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET CERTIFIED? DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CERTIFICATIONS?

Having provided support and services internally in an unofficial capacity for many years and then officially as Litigation Support Coordinator, it became important to be certified in order to have credibility.   More and more, clients are requiring specific ediscovery capabilities and credentials from the attorneys and firms they engage with. It is a fast-pace environment and providing clients with the assurance that the work is performed in the most efficient and state-of-the-art manner is essential.

On the personal side, actually going through the learning portion and successfully completing the exam gave me a definite boost of confidence.

I am very fortunate that the firm I have worked for for decades fully supports my efforts for certification and recognizes my efforts to that end.  I am very grateful for this support.

The other certifications I have obtained are as an AD Summation Administrator, AD Summation Case Manager and AD Summation Reviewer (consolidating into the AD Summation Specialist certification).

PLEASE SHARE YOUR BACKGROUND OF EDISCOVERY EXPERIENCE:

Although our jurisdiction does not have the same discovery obligations and we are not required to produce all potentially relevant information to adversaries in the discovery phase of litigation to the same extent, ediscovery principles do still apply in other phases of litigation for us.  Having the ability to process data and efficiently reduce the volume, knowing where to look for the information in clients’ environment, searching for responsive information within a collection to use as evidence, preparing productions, redactions and other branding, among others, are also essential in our legal context as well as being able to provide quality assurance for all of these processes.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OUR CEDS TRAINING/CERTIFICATION TO OTHER?

Absolutely !

ADVICE TO OTHERS LOOKING TO TAKE THE EXAM?

Give yourself enough time to go through the materials.  Follow the study guide.   Read the relevant sections of the FRCP and the comments.

I would recommend doing the Essentials training at the same time as the other materials but if you don’t take copious notes.  I was certainly glad I had.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS TO SHARE?

Gratefulness for the support and encouragement received along the way, from other CEDS, and all at ACEDS.  I am very proud to be finally have become apart of this community.