Compelling insights about cloud computing, data backups, e-discovery, mobile computing, security and social media highlight the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey.
The survey received 5,076 responses from attorneys at outfits of various sizes, from solo shops to mega-firms. It covered six volumes released in stages from May to July: Technology Basics; Law Office Technology; Litigation/Courtroom Technology; Web/Communication Technology; Online Research; and Mobile Lawyers. Results are divided by firm size: Solo; 2-9; 10-49; 50-99; 100-499; and 500-plus. Chicago-based ABA editor Joshua Poje led the project.
Poje and the report’s authors do not attempt to draw conclusions from the annual report, which began in 1995. “Our approach in the past, and in this year’s edition, is to avoid editorializing,” he says.
But there are myriad statistics of interest. In firms with at least 500 attorneys:
• 14.7 percent of respondents have tried some form of cloud computing;
• 11.8 percent said their computer files aren’t backed up, and 58.9 percent said there are backups but they don’t know the method;
• 27.9 percent never get e-discovery requests, while 23.5 percent get such requests up to three times per month;
• 9.3 percent said their firms have had data breaches, and 72.1 percent didn’t know; and
• 4.2 percent have been retained because of blogging or social media actions.
Meanwhile, at firms of 100-499 attorneys:
• 8 percent of respondents have tried some form of cloud computing;
• 4.2 percent said their computer files aren’t backed up, and 65.3 percent said there are backups but they don’t know the method;
• 30.6 percent never get e-discovery requests, while 15.3 percent get such requests up to three times per month;
• 9.6 percent said their firms have had data breaches, and 63.5 percent didn’t know; and
• 13.6 percent have been retained because of blogging or social media actions.
For smartphones, the overall breakdown by platform is Apple iPhone (49.3 percent); Research In Motion BlackBerry (30.8 percent); Google Android (18.4 percent); Microsoft Windows (1.1 percent); and other/unknown (1.8 percent). Notably, despite Research In Motion’s corporate challenges, BlackBerry still leads in firms of 500 or more attorneys, with a 57 percent share.
Tablet computers are used by 33.1 percent of attorneys, and 90.9 percent of those use the Apple iPad.
Regarding computer operating systems, 86 percent of all respondents use Microsoft products: Windows 7 (43.8 percent); Windows XP (36 percent); Windows Vista (5.1 percent); Windows 2000 (2.2 percent); Windows 98 (0.7 percent); and Windows NT (0.4 percent). That’s compared to 6 percent using versions of the Apple Macintosh; 1 percent citing “other”; and 0.1 percent running Linux.
When buying litigation software, 35.3 percent said they most value full-text searching; 27.3 percent aim for document review; 22.2 target Bates numbering; and 20.2 percent appreciate optical character recognition. Concept searching and clustering ranked at the bottom, with 6.4 percent and 4.5 percent of respondents citing those features as most useful, respectively.
And for an extreme figure, try this: 1.9 percent of respondents still use dial-up Internet access in firms of 100-499 attorneys. Overall, 1.1 percent of respondents use dial-up.
The ABA is selling the volumes for $300 each to bar members and $350 each for nonmembers. Summary reports are $45 each to members and $55 each for nonmembers.