E-Discovery Jobs Spike but Salaries Stagnate
The Cowen Group’s 9th annual survey shows a 50% spike in corporate e-discovery jobs.
Mark Gerlach, Law Technology News
Despite vendor consolidation and out-sourcing at law firms, overall legal industry demand for e-discovery employees is strong heading into 2015, according to The Cowen Group‘s “Ninth Annual Salary Survey Report,” released Dec. 18. Corporations are hiring “significant numbers of e-discovery professionals,” said David Cowen, president and managing partner at the New York City-based staffing and consulting firm.
The report anticipates 165 new positions in litigation support and e-discovery will be created in 2015, with demand for e-discovery talent up 50 percent at corporations. The annual study examines litigation support and e-discovery hiring trends.
Results from 287 technologists, project managers, managers, directors and attorneys were collected for the report. Fifty-six percent of respondents were from law firms, followed by companies (33 percent) and vendors (10 percent); 77 percent of responding law firms were Am Law 200 firms. Survey data was submitted via online questionnaires and interviews conducted from Nov. 24 to Dec. 11.
For law firms, litigation support and e-discovery salaries were largely flat across the board this year, compared to 2013 data. Two positions, however, did see a significant increase in base salary—litigation support coordinators and e-discovery project managers. There is a high demand for these two positons because of the complex skill sets needed to fill these roles, Cowen said.
Litigation support coordinators at law firms topped the report in terms of the biggest increase in average base salaries when compared to last year, with a 13.6 percent climb. Litigation support coordinators made approximately $101,000 to $125,000, with salaries the highest in Chicago ($122,500), Los Angeles ($119,780) and San Francisco ($116,390), the report said.
Coming in second with the biggest pay hike was law firm e-discovery project managers with a 13.4 percent change in base pay since 2013. These professionals make $108,000 to $135,000, the report said. Wages are at their zenith in Los Angeles ($128,666), New York ($112,496) and Washington, D.C. ($98,666).
“This demand is juxtaposed with the difficulty of identifying, training and retaining [employees] that can excel in the role of e-discovery project managers,” said Cowen. “This challenge leads to a corresponding increase in what firms are willing to pay to either recruit or retain top talent in these positions.”
Size matters for e-discovery project managers and directors, according to the report, with firm size having the biggest effect on salaries, as Am Law 50 firms offered higher salaries, on average, than firms ranked lower on the Am Law 100 chart.
Litigation support analysts’ salaries declined, sliding 0.6 percent since 2013, according to the report. The average pay for this position is between $71,000 and $85,000.
The decline is slight, Cowen noted, and its reason is two-fold. “First, analyst positions are being outsourced to managed services firms. Second, law firms and vendors now have excellent training programs for junior talent and therefore can now hire staff with little or no e-discovery experience at this level,” he said.
Recap: Lit Support Coordinator $125,000 ….. Project Mangers $135,000 … Lit Support Analyst $85,000.
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