CEDS Spotlight: Christine Stansall
Thursday, September 28, 2017
CEDS Spotlight: Christine Stansall
Please share your thoughts on the certification training, exam and how it has benefitted you both the certification and ACEDS community as a whole.
I became deeply interested in ediscovery and litigation support in 2010 and was trying to find ways to gain any kind of knowledge. I did some online searching and found ACEDS. I read as many articles and listened in on the webinars as often as I could. Technology evolves so quickly so the industry evolves as well. I found myself getting confused as to what I should concentrate on as there were many different schools of thought of how ediscovery should be handled and managed. ACEDS became the organization that many across the industry recognized as setting a standard for someone to demonstrate a level of knowledge in the ediscovery field.
It is difficult to get a level of hands-on experience in ediscovery. Anyone trying to get a start in this industry knows how difficult it is to get a foot in the door. ACEDS at least offered a way to show that someone understood the concepts behind ediscovery issues in order to address and manage any phase of the EDRM.
Why did you decide to get certified?
In 2015 I discovered that UC Irvine was offering the ACEDS E-Discovery Program and that by completing it I would be awarded the title of ACEDS Fellow. I decided to take the program as a way to prepare for the CEDS exam. I completed the program in December 2015. By coincidence, I was able to transition into a litigation support position a few months later. Experience trumps knowledge in the ediscovery field. However, I still felt that having the CEDS credential would show to others that I possess a level of competence and understanding of how ESI should be handled in litigation.
Give us a background of your experience.
I have been in the legal industry since 1995. For 20 years I worked as paralegal in general practice firms in firms of all sizes. That gave me experience in law office operations; business, corporate and real property; civil and business litigation; estate planning, trust administration and probate; and intellectual property matters. I enjoyed using technology to find ways to be more efficient and streamline law firm operations. That blend of technology use and legal training is what led me to transition to litigation support and ediscovery. I can't wait to see how my career evolves!
Any advice you may have for others wanting to get certified?
For those that want to get certified, I suggest examining your long-term career plan to see how CEDS fits into those goals. Ediscovery is here to stay because technology and how technology is used will always evolve. Ask yourself where do you want your career to be in 3, 5, and 10 years. How will CEDS fit into each of those stages? Although ediscovery was first coined to be used in litigation, I believe that other fields of law have already seen the benefits in managing and organizing ESI and data. For example, document review platforms such as Relativity and Eclipse are used strictly for document review, tagging, and productions. But why can't those platforms also be configured for due diligence in merger and acquisitions or in real property transactions? I believe that ediscovery and legal project management skills can be transferable outside of the litigation arena. Although achieving the ACEDS Fellow and CEDS credentials was a milestone in my career, I certainly won't treat those as capstones.
For preparation of the exam, I deem myself lucky to have taken the UC Irvine program because those weeks were invaluable in discussing how theory applies to hands-on processes. I am grateful to my instructor Kyre Stucklin in laying out the EDRM forwards, backwards, and sideways. However, I also read and reviewed the manual countless times, writing notes in the margins as I watched each online module of the CEDS certification package. I also outlined the manual. Finally I watched the live webinar of Mary Mack teaching at a CEDS seminar and took notes as well. Even with all the preparation and review, I was still nervous about the exam because it was 145 questions over four hours. That didn't leave a lot of time to analyze questions. You either had to know the material or not so I approached the exam with an attitude of over-preparation, and I'm glad I did.