Call it a case of technology expectations run amok. A year ago, respondents to our annual Mid­level Associates Survey were raving about their firms’ embrace of iPhones and Android devices and eagerly anticipating a bigger role for the iPad and other mobile gadgets ["Survey: Tech-Savvy Associates Want It All, and Some Firms Oblige," September 2011]. And then: nothing, or at least nothing that would whip up a frenzy. Instead, this was a year of smaller advances: Windows 7 upgrades, Microsoft Office updates, bug fixes, and the revamped iManage 8.5 document system. Midlevels who had dreamed of drafting memos on voice-responsive tablets were instead searching for functions on their new Windows desktops.

In short, associates were underwhelmed. As one respondent from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld said in an interview: “We all get spoiled with so many tech advances and then, nothing really happened.”