Demonstrating your expertise in the eDiscovery industry can be tough. But there are vendor-specific and vendor-neutral certifications that help you stand out from the crowd.
With this line on your resume or badge on LinkedIn, you can show off what you’re capable of during discovery and internal investigations. Gaining one or more of these certifications may help you advance at work, find new job opportunities, and command a higher salary.
ACEDS’ Certified eDiscovery Specialist Certification
The Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists offers the Certified eDiscovery Specialist (CEDS) certification, one of the longest-running certification programs in the industry. ACEDS intends for this certification to show your eDiscovery knowledge and skills. According to ACEDS, it’s a widely held certification among litigation support managers and directors and is well received by firms, financial institutions, and government agencies.
Here’s what to expect: The exam has 145 multiple-choice questions crafted and audited by dozens of eDiscovery experts. The questions reflect real-world scenarios that attorneys and other eDiscovery professionals commonly encounter. They aren’t vendor- or U.S.-specific and focus on 11 eDiscovery topics.
To take the exam, you’ll need to submit an application, preferably before the exam, but up to 90 days after sitting for it. There aren’t rigid eligibility rules, but you should have experience in the eDiscovery field and are encouraged to study for the test.
You can’t pay for the CEDS certification exam on its own. Instead, ACEDS offers packages that come with several benefits. The Standard Package, which includes preparation materials, two-year certification, and a mentorship program, costs $1,495. The Complete Package, which offers two attempts at the exam, costs $1,995.
After passing, you’ll have to renew your certification every two years.
Should you go for it? Gaining certification can lead to new job and advancement opportunities and, if leveraged, might help you command a more competitive salary. According to an ACEDS survey, respondents were 63% more likely to hire a candidate with CEDS certification over a candidate without it.
If you’re interested in another independent, vendor-neutral certification, check out Arkfeld eDiscovery Education Center’s Basic and Advanced eDiscovery Courses.
Logikcull’s Culler Certification
One of the most innovative eDiscovery certifications is the Culler Certification from Logikcull.
Logikcull offers three levels of certification: Culler, Pro Culler, and Master Culler. Certification at each level requires completing several lessons, taking an exam, and completing practical exercises.
You have to demonstrate a mastery of discovery basics for the Culler level, including filtering documents by metadata, running searches, creating and applying tags, redacting sensitive information, and training others in these basic tasks.
This first-level certification exam is free and readily available to anyone with a Logikcull account and some experience. It’s the perfect way to boost your visibility if you’re new to an organization that uses Logikcull or to the eDiscovery industry in general.
Pro Cullers show you can take full advantage of Logikcull’s technology by creating different uploads, customizing reviews, filtering documents in complex searches, and creating custom production specifications and load files. There are several eligibility requirements for level two, including using Logikcull for at least 120 days and completing 20 unique user sessions.
The highest level, Master Culler, goes beyond the Pro Culler tasks. You have to show you can implement quality controls, create complex search strings, and improve your organization’s discovery processes. To reach this level, you have to have used Logikcull for at least 365 days, completed 30 unique user sessions, and passed the Pro Culler Certification exam, among other requirements.
Logikcull offers courses and webinars to get to know the product better and advance your skills — available for free, whether or not you're planning on getting certified. You can use these as study materials when preparing to advance from the beginner to the pro level.
These certifications demonstrate your real-world abilities, not theoretical knowledge. They show the legal and eDiscovery industry you’re capable of performing necessary discovery tasks, and more importantly, finding evidence, privileged documents, redactions, and more. In other words, you’re capable of efficiently providing accurate results through Logikcull.
Legal Document Review Training Certifications
Document review professionals may also seek legal document review training certifications that demonstrate expertise in rapidly and accurately reviewing documents for relevance and privilege. Legal document review training certifications also allow document review professionals to show potential employers and clients that they have dedicated themselves to developing the specialized skills needed for discovery work. In addition to the eDiscovery certifications offered through ACEDS, other legal document review training certifications available for document review professionals include:
- Certified Forensic Document Examiner - The American Board of Forensic Document Examiners offers this certification to reflect expertise in handwriting and typing analysis for determining whether documents may be forgeries. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or another related field and at least three years of experience as a document examiner. The certification process requires two years of specialized courses and apprenticeships with CFDEs, plus passing an exam.
- National Association of Document Examiners Certification Program - This certification program from the National Association of Document Examiners recognizes expertise in legal document review, including in topics such as verifying signatures or document author identities, legal considerations of document examination, and ethics in document examination. Applicants must, among other things, submit case files from cases in which they have testified as an expert witness in document examination and pass a written examination.
Document review professionals who possess legal document review training certifications offer their employers and clients extra peace of mind that they can complete their work thoroughly and accurately.
Other Industry Certifications
While ACEDS offers vendor-neutral certification options and Culler Certification demonstrates your mastery of modern discovery, there are a host of other certifications as well, often vendor-specific. Whether it helps you to complete any of these exams depends on your experience and goals.
Some providers offer training and certifications for those getting started in eDiscovery. These options could be beneficial if you are between jobs, looking to boost your resume, or are just transitioning into an eDiscovery role. Free or low-cost eDiscovery training might help you find your next opportunity.
A majority of the certification opportunities are for professionals with some level of eDiscovery experience, though. Whether you should get one or more of these certifications depends on if you have experience with the platform and assume you’ll continue to use it in the future.
The more complex the tool is, the more training may be required. For example, Relativity offers eight separate certificates, requiring varying levels of experience and hours of study and ranging in price from $50 to $300. All the certifications last 12 months, after which you will need to recertify.
Other platforms offer similar programs. Some certifications are a significant financial investment. Ask yourself whether you’ll work with the software in the future and whether this makes the cost worth it. If you’re likely to work with organizations or clients that utilize that eDiscovery software, then the corresponding certification may be more valuable.
Depending on the software you’ve worked with recently, you may be interested in the following certifications:
- AccessData eDiscovery Certifications ($100)
- Brainspace (Reveal) Certifications ($150-$350)
- iCONECT Certifications (Free-$1,125)
- Nuix Certifications ($500-$3,200)
If you’ve spent months or years mastering specific software, obtaining certification can be a (relatively) quick and easy way to demonstrate your expertise.
You have the knowledge and skills and should display that prominently on your resume, LinkedIn, email signature, and other online profiles. Digital badges are becoming a must-have among eDiscovery professionals, so don't hesitate to get yours.