Considerations For Those Displaced By The COVID-19 Pandemic, Part Two: eDiscovery Careers

Yesterday, we covered the first part of recommendations regarding those who have been displaced by the pandemic (several of which apply even if you still have your job), which includes my discussion with (and recommendations from) Jared Coseglia, founder and CEO of TRU Staffing Partners.  Here are some additional considerations and recommendations.

Catch Up on Your Reading: Whether you’re displaced or currently employed, there’s never been a better time to catch up on your reading to stay abreast of eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy trends, best practices and key cases.  In addition to this blog (which, of course, gives you an opportunity to read about eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy every weekday), here are just a few other excellent resources you can catch up on:

Not to mention blog posts and articles on EDRM and ACEDS.  And, there are also excellent blogs from several eDiscovery providers out there as well.

Reach Out to “Friendlies”: While Jared advises against sending out your resume “to everyone in your LinkedIn contact list”, he suggests that reaching out to those “in your inner circle” is certainly appropriate.  Not only can your “friendlies” be an excellent resource for references, they can also be a source of great advice and possibly even opportunities (at least short term).  Some will even be willing to arrange an introduction to someone else who might be able to help as well.

Reaching out to “friendlies” has certainly been important to me as I’ve started in this process – in fact, it’s a big part of the reason this new blog exists in the first place!  Craig Ball and Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad of EDRM have been instrumental as foundational sponsors to not only help me get the blog up and running, but also to help me publicize it.  Rob Robinson had great advice and assistance as well.  Others who have helped me considerably with advice and assistance include Brad Jenkins, Mike Quartararo, Kelly Twigger, George Socha and Sharon Nelson.  You’ll be surprised how willing people are to help you.

Consider Temporary Project/Consulting Work in the Short Term: While companies have been laying off employees, they may still need help to complete important tasks in the organization, so they may be more open to retaining temporary resources for specific projects or general consulting.  These may be the best opportunities available for the foreseeable future as there are many more professionals applying for full-time equivalent (FTE) positions than there are available positions.  Jared told me that TRU Staffing Partners “normally receives a handful of resumes in a typical weekend”, but in back to back weekends recently “we received more than a hundred each weekend”.  With that in mind, the temp gigs may be the best way to not only keep the revenue flow going, but they may give you a great opportunity to make a great impression when that company is ready to hire for FTE positions again.

Certainly, if you’ve filed for unemployment, you will want to know the ins and outs of how your state handles your unemployment claim when you perform temporary work.  Here’s an article that discusses how taking a temporary job can impact your unemployment benefits.

Count Your Blessings: Finally, while the statement “at least you have your health” may be trite, it’s also never been more appropriate.  As of this writing, there are more than 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world and over a million confirmed cases in the US, with over 200,000 confirmed deaths (over 57,000 of those confirmed deaths in the US).  Even for those who survive COVID-19, many have had considerable health challenges and some have had lengthy hospital stays.  David Lat, the founding editor of Above the Law, is an example of one in our industry who has had significant struggles (as detailed in this Washington Post article about his near death experience).  If you are healthy, embrace that and count your blessings.

Conclusion

And, I will end with my own optimistic prediction with regard to the job market in one respect.  Even before the pandemic, many industries (including the eDiscovery industry) were embracing more and more remote work scenarios.  As Jared notes “one in every four placements in 2019 was remote work from home (WFH). So the trend was already heading in that direction. I forecast in my 2020 predictions article that by 2021 33% of jobs would be remote in ESI…But now…maybe that was conservative.”

When I was at CloudNine before the pandemic, a number of our employees were already remote workers and not based in our main offices.  The pandemic has simply accelerated acceptance of remote work scenarios as viable – companies have been forced to make remote scenarios work and have proven that they can work indefinitely.  My prediction is that this will lead to more companies posting jobs for “any location” instead of requiring applicants to live or relocate to a specific location as they will be more focused on hiring the right candidate for the position regardless of where they live.  So, that will eventually open up more possibilities for qualified candidates as geography will be less of a constraint (in my opinion anyway).

So, what do you think?  Are you a displaced lawyer or legal technology professional?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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