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Navigating the world of professional certification and training options, alongside other dispatches from the new global workplace.

Discovering a New Certificate: The Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS)

Wednesday 6 November 2013

One of the things that motivates my "hobby" of studying the professional certification landscape is the always-changing nature of the field.  I am always learning of new certificate programs out there (we seem to be entering a "golden age" for professional credentialing...), and today was no exception.  I was looking at the DOL Career Onestop directory this morning as I was researching paralegal certification programs (a post on paralegals is on the way, eventually!) and came across one that I had never heard of: the Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS).  Apparently this one is designed to be a cross-over for both JD-trained lawyers and paralegals involved in e-discovery, that is, analyzing reams of electronic documents for tiny morsels of information that might be useful in a trial.  It has been around for about 3 years now, so it's not brand-new, but being recognized by Career Onestop this early in its, um, shall we say, organizational career, is nonetheless an impressive signal of legitimacy.

The requirements (beyond successful completion of an exam) are a combination of points for education, experience, and professional training/conference participation - pretty typical stuff in the world of occupational certification.  One little quirk of their points table that I found to be an interesting insight into their organizational values is that a JD degree only nets one five additional points (out of 40 needed for the certification), which is the same number of points that they're offering for a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or an IT certification in information security.  Personally, even though I agree that PMP is one of the more rigorous certificates out there, I have a hard time drawing the equivalency between a Harvard JD and a PMP - I wonder if this is a deliberate attempt to distance e-discovery from the mainstream legal profession and encourage new entrants, in which case this new certificate fits quite well with the narrative of a legal profession under attack - something that I hope to write about in greater depth when I get around to developing the "accreditation" part of this blog.

Certification geeks might be interested in reading the history of the certification posted to their website.  As one would expect for anything involving lawyers, they describe a pretty impressive process of psychometric analysis and test development.  The creators apparently were involved in the creation of the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist designation, which sounds like a good topic for an upcoming post!


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