Michelle Clifford, a litigation support manager at Shipman & Goodwin LLP, earned three DISCO Certifications over the summer (Search & Review, Review Management, and Data Management) and was the grand prize winner of our sweepstakes, earning a trip to Austin! While she’s excited to come to Texas to visit her brother and see all the sights, we all know the real prize is the ediscovery tips and tricks she learned along the way. With this in mind, Clifford shared some of her biggest takeaways from getting DISCO Certified — and why it’s definitely worth it.
I love DISCO Ediscovery because it’s easy to use and has improved my job as a litigation support manager. In my line of work, mistakes that lead to re-reviewing documents can have costly consequences for clients. If you’re working with outdated software that requires you to review every document multiple times, you’re not doing your clients (or teammates) any favors.
It’s easy to get caught up using legacy software. We’ve all been to tech shows where the vendor representative runs a brief demo with several pre-canned searches or processes, and BAM! the result is lightning fast and perfect every time. But I think most people fear what will happen after they commit and they’re at the office alone trying to perform those same processes that worked so seamlessly at the tech show. This adoption fear was a big hurdle. But this is where DISCO is different because the training and certification options make it easier than ever to switch and begin reaping the rewards of better technology immediately.
With DISCO Ediscovery, my team completes reviews faster than ever, which can result in beneficial savings for our clients. Thanks to their cloud-based software, we no longer have to purchase additional servers year after year to keep up with burgeoning data volumes nor perform maintenance on them.
Now that I’m DISCO Certified three times over, here are three things I’ve taken away from this experience.
1. The certifications have made me a better lit support manager
Even though I’ve been using DISCO since 2017, I knew there were aspects of the platform I wasn’t using to their full potential. After earning three out of four DISCO Certifications, I can confidently say that I’m a power user and a more proficient lit support manager. While going through specific modules in DISCO, I often had that “aha” moment and would stop the training video and go to one of our databases to test a new skill. While the Review Management course was the hardest for me, it was the most valuable and rewarding. As I was working through the exam prep, it reassured me that I was doing many tasks correctly in DISCO, but I also realized that I was not using certain features like search term reports as well as I could.
The best practices I picked up from getting certified have helped me streamline our review processes and ensure we use the platform correctly. Learning how to leverage review stages has been a game-changer for us. Before better technology, attorneys had to review everything — all 784,932 emails in your client’s database, plus attachments! Now we can set the scene by carving out what really needs to be reviewed, putting them into a review stage, and prioritizing documents using DISCO AI. Added functionality like email threading and inclusive emails also helps to speed up review.
If you aren’t utilizing DISCO review stages, you’re missing out — not just on providing the most cost-effective option for your clients but also on the more fun aspects of the job, like getting lunch with your teammates.
I am more confident using and training others to use DISCO Ediscovery. In the platform, there are often multiple ways to accomplish the same thing, and learning them has helped with training. Some people prefer to create elaborate searches using DISCO Ediscovery’s Search Builder. Others use filters to drill down to find what they’re looking for.
2. DISCO Certifications are different than others I’ve earned (and more fun!)
The most apparent difference between DISCO Certifications and others I’ve earned is that they’re free. Not only is it generous to offer free training and certifications, but it’s also wise. DISCO knows that offering free training via DISCO University means their users will be more educated, less likely to make errors, and better able to onboard and train new teammates when the time comes. It also ensures that teams have more time to tackle more complex matters.
For example, the features and functions that DISCO demonstrated worked seamlessly, and they’ve kept improving their product without a lot of bugs or pain points. Before adopting DISCO, loading and processing native files using on-prem software took much longer, and our attorneys often got restless because they needed to begin review immediately. With DISCO, however, as soon as data ingestion commences, the documents begin flowing into the review platform. My team can ingest and produce documents without having reviewers exit the database.
Like the Certified E-Discovery Specialist Exam (CEDS), I enjoyed the self-paced manner of DISCO University and Certifications. We all learn at different paces and in different ways. In the past, for other software education sessions, my colleagues and I traveled to a venue where we were stuck in a conference room for a day or two. My brain couldn’t absorb any new material by hour two, and I watched the clock counting down until the next break. I found the videos particularly engaging and entertaining, not to mention informational! DISCO University's content proves that learning can be fun and beneficial.
Not only did the self-paced nature of DISCO’s courses work better for me, but it made it easier for me to fit learning into my schedule as time permitted. And because I wasn’t stuck in a conference room for days, I could take one of my new learnings and immediately apply it to a current matter. Talk about real-time benefits!
3. Making time to invest in your success can be challenging, but it’s worth it
I have busy work days and a full life outside of work, caring for an elderly parent, and spending time with my husband and adult children. Finding the time to dedicate to learning is always a challenge, but I’m a firm believer in education of any kind. To stay current and marketable, you must continuously be learning. When preparing for a DISCO Certification exam, I found that my training sessions worked best if I scheduled them on my calendar and then did my best to protect that time.
Immersing myself in the material helped me absorb it better. Once you decide which certification you’re striving for, go for it full-throttle. Look at how much time is needed to get through the material, then set the date to take the exam. Consider that exam date a hard deadline.
Continue to pursue learning even when it’s uncomfortable. I believe those are the best moments for personal growth. When you feel that uneasiness, that means you’re inexperienced in that area. Sometimes if you don’t feel prepared, you might feel overwhelmed and be tempted to back off. But my advice is to lean into that feeling. Perhaps break down your education sessions into smaller chunks, but keep going! You’re not still using a rotary phone — you learned how to use a cell phone, then later a smartphone. Professional learning is the same thing. You don’t want to be known for being outdated. Get trained and be known for being a cutting-edge leader.
DISCO Ediscovery is a powerful tool. If you’re new to working with DISCO, there are many new concepts to learn, even if you’ve used other products. If you truly want to unleash DISCO Ediscovery’s full power (and trust me, you do!), get certified to become familiar with all the platform offers.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our sweepstakes. We hope this helps inspire you to make time to keep learning. If you’d like to learn how DISCO University and Certifications can level up your ediscovery skills or improve team efficiencies, visit us at learn.csdisco.com.