ABA survey shows lawyers are more mobile than ever

prev
next

Nicole Black
BridgeTower Media Newswires

The iPhone was released in 2007, and it revolutionized the way that we communicate and access information. Once a novelty, smartphones are now commonplace in the legal profession. This is because lawyers jumped on the mobile bandwagon fairly quickly, unlike other types of technology.

As evidenced by the results of the 2017 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey, lawyers are more mobile than ever before. The reasons are many: mobile computing offers convenience, flexibility and 24/7 access to important information. Given all the benefits, it’s no wonder that lawyers have taken to mobile devices like a fish takes to water.

According to the survey results, lawyers use a number of different types of mobile devices for law-related tasks while away from their offices. Smartphones are the most commonly used, with 96 percent of lawyers reporting that they used smartphones while outside the office. Lawyers from firms of 10-49 and 100-499 used them the most often, with both sets of lawyers reporting usage levels at 98 percent. Next up were lawyers from firms of 500 or more (97 percent), followed by lawyers from firms of 50-99 (96 percent), 2-9 (95 percent), and solos (93 percent).

Laptops are also popular, with 81 percent of lawyers using them for law-related purposes while away from the office. Lawyers from firms of 500 or more reported the greatest use of laptops while out of the office (94 percent). Lawyers from firms of 100-499 were next at 89 percent, followed by lawyers from firms of 50-99 (85 percent), 2-9 (83 percent), 10-49 (82 percent), and solos (74 percent).

Lawyers were the least likely to use tablets for mobile access while away from the office, with 50 percent reporting that they did so. Lawyers from firms of 500 or more used tablets the most often (61 percent). Next up were lawyers from firms of 2-9 (52 percent), followed by lawyers from firms of 10-49 (51 percent), solos (49 percent), lawyers from firms of 50-99 (46 percent), and lawyers from firms of 100-499 (36 percent).

According to the lawyers surveyed, they used mobile devices from a variety of different locations. The most common place that lawyers used their mobile devices was their home (96 percent), followed by hotels (93 percent), while in transit (89 percent), airports (85 percent), clients’ offices (75 percent), in the courthouse (70 percent), and other attorneys’ offices (71 percent).

When it comes to courtroom usage, according to the survey, 57 percent of lawyers who appear in court have used laptops in the courtroom, up from 46 percent in 2014. Top uses for laptops include email (34 percent), accessing key evidence and documents (33 percent), legal research (29 percent), accessing court documents and dockets (27 percent), calendaring (24 percent), and delivering presentations (23 percent).

Eighty percent of lawyers who appear in court report using their smartphone in the courtroom. Some of the most popular uses include: email (72 percent), calendaring (58 percent), real-time communications (44 percent), legal research (24 percent), accessing court dockets and documents (15 percent), and accessing the firm’s network (14 percent).

When it comes to tablets, 38 percent of lawyers who appear in court reported using them in court. Tablets were used to accomplish a number of tasks, including email (29 percent), legal research (25 percent), calendaring (21 percent), accessing court documents and dockets (16.5 percent), and accessing key evidence and documents (15 percent).

So that’s how lawyers are using mobile devices to practice law in 2018. How does your mobile device usage compare? If you use your mobile devices less often than your colleagues, perhaps you’re not fully taking advantage of the many benefits the mobile computing offers.

Then again, there are undoubtedly drawbacks to the mobile age, not the least of which is the psychological impact of the perception of 24/7 availability. While it’s not always an easy juggling act, the benefits of mobile access are many, both for lawyers and their clients. The key is to find the right balance between the convenience of easy access to information and maintaining the necessary boundaries between work and your home life. Once you’ve found a balance that works for you, you’ll reap the benefits of the flexibility of mobile computing.

————

Nicole Black is a director at MyCase.com, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She can be reached at niki@mycase.com.
 

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »