Most law firms specialize, or focus, on a few select areas of the law. In addition, many law firms specialize in litigation, or legal proceedings in a courtroom such as pursuing or defending lawsuits or defending criminal charges. Firms that handle a large volume of litigation often employ a litigation support manager. The duties and responsibilities of a litigation support manager may vary somewhat depending on the size and caseload of the law firm; however, in most cases, a litigation support manager supervises paralegals and other support staff, as well as coordinates and oversees all the technological support of the litigation team.
A law firm that specializes in, or regularly handles, litigation often has an extensive system set up to handle voluminous of court filings, discovery requirements, and evidence preparation necessary to competently represent a client in litigation. Filing a complaint, or filing an answer to a complaint, is typically just the beginning of the work required to properly litigate a lawsuit. Numerous motions may need to be prepared and filed, along with requests for production of documents and interrogatories. Witnesses will need to be located, interviewed, and prepared for trial. Trial exhibits will also need to be created for the trial.
Among other duties, a litigation support manager is generally in charge of supervising paralegals, secretaries, and other support staff. Paralegals are individuals who have completed training in administrative and secretarial duties needed in a legal atmosphere. A paralegal may be responsible for doing legal research, communicating with clients, or drafting documents needed for a lawsuit. Secretaries perform general duties such as typing letters that have been dictated by an attorney or organizing files. Other support staff may include someone who is in charge of filing paperwork, a receptionist, and an in-house investigator.
Each member of the office staff plays an important role in the litigation of a case. The attorneys generally need to concentrate their efforts on the legal maneuvering required to litigate a case, which is why a litigation support manager is often needed. As a rule, the litigation support manager keeps all the various members of the support staff organized and performing according to the needs of the attorneys.
In addition to supervising people, a litigation support manager may also be in charge of making sure the technology used in the law firm is operating correctly. In the digital age, a law office typically depends heavily on technology to run smoothly. Legal research is typically completed online, client accounts and files are updated and stored electronically and many documents are even filed with the court or transmitted to opposing counsel electronically. As a result, the litigation support manager needs to make sure that all of the office technology is operating correctly.