iPads and business apps like Dragon Dictation find attorney niche

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

Lawyer Tech infographics

Recently, the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center released the final volumes to its annual survey of technology’s role in the legal profession. The six volume report, which will set you back $300 to $350 per volume, was compiled from data generated by nearly 5,000 questionnaires with 144 questions.

Some of the highlights of The Legal Technology Survey Report were discussed on Law.com by Catherine Sanders Reach in an article titled “ABA Legal Technology Survey Adds New Devices, Technologies” and in Lawyers Weekly USA by reporter Correy Stephenson in an article titled, “Survey shows more lawyers turning to smartphones, tablets.”

Of the lawyers surveyed, the report found:

  • Forty-six percent use a Blackberry, 35 percent use an iPhone and 17 percent use an Android.
  • Twenty percent use a tablet device.
  • The iPad was the most popular tablet device. Ninety-six percent of the lawyers who provided a brand name for their tablet identified iPad as the device.
  • Twenty-seven percent of the respondents have downloaded a legal-specific app to their mobile phone. The most frequently cited apps were Fastcase at 25 percent, Westlaw at 11 percent and Lexis at 9 percent.
  • General business apps were downloaded by 28 percent. The most frequently named app was Dragon Dictation with Docs to Go and PDF reader second and third.
  • Lawyers who use Software as a Service identified browser access from anywhere as the most important benefit, followed by access anytime of the day or night and then lower cost and ability to eliminate IT and software requirements.
  • At 63 percent, the biggest reason attorneys gave for not using SaaS was unfamiliarity with the technology. Security concerns were highlighted by 47 percent of the respondents and concerns over control of the data were identified by 41 percent of those surveyed.

It seems clear that the love affair between lawyers and technology shows no signs of slowing. At Lawyer Tech Review, we predict that in the following year business apps will continue to find their way into the legal profession and iPads use within the profession will spread.

Security issues will continue to be a concern. Look for heightened coverage of the privacy issues related to accessing emailed documents from coffee shops using public Internet connections, the importance of knowing the physical location of cloud computing servers and reminders to read the fine print contained in the terms of service.

Finally, practices must be profitable to survive. It is likely that free or low cost tech solutions such as those offered by Google – from calendars to docs to research tools like Scholar — will continue to gain converts, especially among solo and small firm lawyers.

Of course, we’ll continue to highlight affordable apps, gadgets and software that are being used by lawyers and judges. But we’d also like to know what you predict the next year holds for lawyers and technology.

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