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How to Become a Litigation Support Specialist

If you have an interest in the law, excellent skills working with computer software and databases, and you are detail-oriented with superior communication skills, you might be a perfect fit as a litigation support specialist. 

When an attorney of a law firm has a large case that requires extensive research, they employ litigation support specialists. They are responsible for researching, compiling, and checking data and information related to a lawsuit. They may also assist with technology in the courtroom, presentations, and much more. They must have solid computer skills and the ability to create and maintain electronic databases as they assist in organizing and maintaining the digital data for the firm. 

Litigation support specialists work closely with attorneys, staff, and clients to understand needs and meet those needs by researching and retrieving essential documentation. To excel as a litigation support specialist, you will need to have a deep understanding of E-discovery tools. Litigation support specialists should be able to work effectively and efficiently to present relevant supporting documentation in a timely manner. They should be familiar with litigation processes, have outstanding organizational skills, and have exceptional written and verbal communication skills. 

Sample job description

Litigation support specialists assist lawyers in litigation support for large, complex cases. They maintain case databases, organize data, and retrieve documents from the database for trial presentations. Litigation support specialists need to have solid communication skills, exceptional organizational abilities, and keen attention to detail. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced litigation support specialist to support our legal team in complex matters. If you have experience building and maintaining databases, reviewing legal documents, retrieving records, and developing trial presentation materials, you might be the ideal candidate for this role, so please apply.   

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assist in compiling data and preparing for trial
  • Assist in presentations for hearings and trials 
  • Organize and manage files
  • Coordinate resources for projects

Education and experience

This position requires an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in law or a related field. Employers also recommend that candidates get a paralegal certificate.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Highly organized
  • Able to manage multiple tasks and projects concurrently
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Requires 3 years of experience within a law firm or other professional organization
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite applications including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, as well as document management and other office technologies
  • Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, or agency rules of assigned practice group/dept

Typical work environment

Litigation support specialists typically work in office settings, usually in courthouses or law firms. They also spend time in the courtroom. Some may also spend time in the judge’s chambers. Litigation support specialists work normal business hours but often work overtime when working on complex cases. Some law clerks work one or more days a week from home.

Typical hours

A litigation support specialist’s typical work hours can be from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary, especially when nearing a deadline. 

Available certifications

Litigation support specialists work in legal settings for law firms or in courthouses. Many institutions offer certifications to help p litigation support specialists develop their skills. Here are some of the best certifications for litigation support specialists: 

  • Certified Legal Professional (CLP). The CLP is designed for lawyer’s assistants who want to advance their skills and knowledge and gain an advantage in their careers. The exam consists of four parts that demonstrate your dedication to professionalism and test your knowledge of legal office skills, the ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other support staff, and a working knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and how to prepare legal documents. 
  • Certified Paralegal (CP). The CP, offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants, recognizes your knowledge in the legal field, your analytical skills, writing abilities, and reading comprehension. The exam has 5 sections. To qualify for the exam, you will need a high school diploma plus 7 years of experience, a bachelor’s degree in any field plus 1 year of experience, or a bachelor’s degree from a bar association-approved paralegal program. The certification must be renewed every 5 years.

Career path

Becoming a litigation support specialist is akin to being a paralegal, and can be an early step toward becoming an attorney. It entails obtaining an associate degree in law or a related field, with a bachelor’s degree typically preferred by employers. Beyond that, a paralegal certificate can help jumpstart a candidate’s career. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 23-2011

2020 Employment345,600
Projected Employment in 2030387,000
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 12% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift41,400 increase

According to the Center for Advanced Legal Studies, a growing focus is tech savviness in the litigation support specialist and paralegal realm. Unsurprisingly, with the growth of e-discovery, among other aspects, law firms and other legal employers are looking for staff with strong technology skills.