Keeping up with rapidly changing eDiscovery legislation, practices and technologies can be challenging. The good news is that there are many quality educational and training resources available at a low (and even no) cost. Bad news? Between a busy schedule and too many emergencies, lifelong learning can easily fade into the background. Here are three strategies that make the most of your eDiscovery resources without wasting time.
1. Refer to daily reading in small doses.
My main advice is to read regularly in small doses. Make an appointment with yourself for 15-20 minutes of reading a day, four to five days a week. Literally put this on your calendar if that’s what you need to maintain a consistent habit.
The easiest way to create a reading plan is to subscribe to 10-15 quality publications. I recommend a combination of legal news sites, newsletters of professional organizations and legal blogs. There are many good blogs to choose from. The three I follow are eDiscovery Today (case law and eDiscovery industry updates), Ride the Lightning (cybersecurity news) and Artificial Lawyer (legal technology news and analysis).
Following good performance techniques will not let your inbox explode due to new subscriptions. Adjust your subscription settings for daily or weekly updates. Create Outlook rules to send emails directly to the News folder.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to read everything. Scan the headlines for review and click only those links that look particularly interesting or relevant to your practice.
2. Regularly attend presentations (and conferences if possible).
Be based on daily reading by regularly attending live presentations or webinars. A good baseline is somewhere between quarterly and monthly. During the year you will learn several topics, but without the risk of burning out of the presentation. You can always adjust the pace up or down according to your schedule and interests.
If conferences are possible, try attending one or two a year, preferably in person. Conferences combine formal and non-formal learning through a mix of presentations, vendors and networking events.
Do you belong to any professional organizations? Presentations by community organizations such as urban bar associations, and local offices of national groups such as Women in Electronic Discovery, ACEDS and ILTA, double as the main opportunities for communication. If you have annual CLE requirements, you can earn your credits, learn something useful and promote connections at the same time.
3. For software training, focus on type and timing.
The puzzle of learning software is that we need it, but often fail at it. Ineffective learning is a difficult problem, but there are steps we can take to improve our individual experiences. One of them is to focus on the type and timing of training.
First, find learning experiences, such as seminars and virtual learning environments. Practical learning is much more effective than passive learning, especially for new users. As an app, plan the following questions, learning about the knowledge base and support options, and how to access them.
Second, include project planning training so you can schedule it closer to the project start date. This turns the project itself into an opportunity to learn by doing. Close learning also facilitates interaction. An urgent need is the best motivation to pay attention during workouts and not interfere with work and digital distractions.
EDiscovery requires ongoing legal and technology education. Fortunately, educational and training resources are readily available. Practitioners can make the most of these resources through simple planning and consistent application.