by Tony Rushin
Though not generally perceived as the dreamy type, today’s lawyers definitely keep their heads in the cloud. (The internet cloud, that is, not the kind dominated by idle thoughts and fantasies.) From web-based software to mobile devices, attorneys are relying on cloud technology at an increasing rate to complete their work. The ABA’s 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report documents this shift to cloud-based tools for lawyers, and MyCase has created a helpful infographic based on the data it contains. (See full infographic below this post.)
So which tools are attorneys are using, and which tasks do these cloud tools help with most? Laptops, tablets, smartphones and cloud-based software – there’s a lot of innovation happening, and these new tools are relevant to the way attorneys complete their daily to-do lists. The number of attorneys using web-based software to help them complete law-related tasks is way up: 38% in 2016, as compared with only 16% in 2011. Small firms and solo practitioners are ahead of the curve in this area, with 46% and 42% respectively saying they’ve adopted the technology.
When it comes to devices, 76% of all attorneys access the internet using tablets. iPads are the overwhelming favorite among these, with 84% selecting Apple products. Android tablets represent just 10% of the tablets used by lawyers and the Windows Mobile platform claims a mere 5%. Only 1% of lawyers report using a Windows Tablet.
The tasks attorneys use their tablets for show a bit more variation:
- 50% say they use the calendar function
- 42% rely on tablets to store and access contacts
- 16% create documents on their tablets
- 7% use tablets to track expenses
Smartphones were an even more popular tool than tablets, with 93% of lawyers surveyed saying they use a smartphone to help complete professional tasks. 71% use the phones to access the internet, for help in a wide variety of functions:
- Email (89%)
- Contacts (72%)
- Calendar (75%)
- Tracking expenses (9%)
- Creating documents (5%)
Apple is the dominant brand here as well, with 73% of lawyers surveyed reporting they use iPhones. Android took 23%, leaving both Blackberry (3%) and Windows Mobile (2%) in the dust in the smartphone category.
If you’d like to get a more detailed look at the cloud-based tools that lawyers rely on, as well as breakdowns of adoption rates by practice area, consider buying your very own copy of the Survey Report. It’ll cost you, but what could be more valuable than knowing what lawyers like to play with at work?
All kidding aside, this is an interesting trend. It’s exciting to see the way cutting edge technology is impacting the way we all work in the digital age. But amid all the fun of high-tech tools, keeping a strong focus on safety is an absolute must. With more cloud tools for data storage and access come ever-increasing risk of security breaches that could do untold damage to your clients and your firm. Learn, use and love the cloud. Just be sure also to learn, use and love the many important strategies available for securing that crucial cloud data.