Rethinking Training and Formalizing the Counsel On Call Way

Counsel On Call has always done things differently in the legal marketplace. Differently for our clients. Differently for our attorneys. Differently in the results we focus on and achieve. We approach projects from a business perspective – using well-trained and experienced attorneys, providing transparent budget forecasts, identifying key metrics to track, using best in breed technology, and employing a best practice approach on all matters are just a few of the issues on which we’ve always been at the forefront.

These initiatives allow us to not only keep long-term clients, but also long-term legal professionals. Legal professionals who are highly skilled, motivated by the work and environment they get to be a part of, and who practice high-level legal work while gaining more control over their life.

In 2014, our focus in the Managed Services Division is to increase the level of specialized training for all of our legal professionals. This training will include explaining much of the EDRM model, integrated with topics we have found to be essential, including how we work and communicate with clients, our collaborative approach to projects, the elements of successful teams, and many more.

We kicked off this Certification Program by visiting each of our offices and Managed Services facilities to focus our team members on understanding the “Counsel On Call Way.” These were open discussions about the issues above, but also touched on understanding the true life cycle of a document, from creation to disposition to understanding all the players who deal with that document.

The latter point is a real differentiator at Counsel On Call. Attorneys at doc review companies might only click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a document. That doesn’t teach attorneys how to work more efficiently, or how to flag potential issues that might impact a case, or identify trends, or how to work well with other partners, or how to become a leader, if desired. That is an approach with a narrow focus.

Our attorneys have always been trained to think bigger, and we have now formalized that training. Our Certification Program details issues such as Information Management/Governance (Record Retention, etc.); Identification and Preservation (Legal Holds); Collection and Processing (role of the technology provider); Review and Analysis (nuts and bolts of review); Technology-Assisted Culling and Review (reducing data and speeding efficiencies through the use of latest technology); Privilege, Work Product and Logging (there are a lot of privileges in many industries that we did not learn about in law school); and finally Production and Presentation (how a document is used in deposition and trial).

Our Managed Services Division is also focusing on training its leaders at various levels to understand team dynamics: how teams should be run; how to handle stress, conflict or communication issues; tracking and metrics; among other topics.

We also believe that this formalized training program is essential in providing a career path within our Managed Services Division. Team attorneys can become quality control team members, QCers can become team leaders, team leaders become project managers, and PMs become trusted high-level consultants to our clients. It’s what we’ve organically developed with our attorneys over the years, so there’s a lot of buy-in from the hundreds of Managed Services attorneys who work with us.

These initiatives and programs will not only help our individual legal professionals but will impact the continued success in providing clients what they need and in explaining how Counsel On Call is prepared to handle the ever-changing challenges. Along the way, we are cultivating a new path for attorneys and rethinking how training can bring an increased level of sophistication to all of our team members, giving them the tools to succeed in this growing area of legal expertise.