Law Firm Technology 2011: All About the Connections

For yet another year, 100 percent of the firms surveyed support BlackBerry devices. But that number is starting to warrant a Roger Maris–like asterisk, as the number of lawyers actually using BlackBerrys continues to slide. An eye-popping 96 percent of survey respondents report users on iOS, the platform that powers both Apple's iPhone and its iPad. That's up from 77 percent in 2010. And 67 percent of firms count Android users among their ranks, up from 43 percent last year. Tablets—not even a product category two years ago—are now supplied by 7 percent of firms. For CIOs, the consumerization of IT—devices designed largely for personal use making their way into the workplace—has both positives and negatives. On one hand, the breadth and easy availability of user-installable apps has dramatically boosted the capabilities of mobile devices, particularly tablets. On the other, managing devices—and data—has become far more complicated. The good news is that firms are having success in keeping data safe without hampering lawyers' ability to work in new, creative ways.

 

 

TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES

Click the image to see how individual firms responded to these questions.

 
To whom does the firm supply wireless e-mail devices such as BlackBerrys or iPhones?
Executives and select managers  87%
Nonpartner attorneys  85%
Partners  82%
Legal assistants/paralegals  42%
Devices not supplied  13%
 
 
 
Does the firm track application downloads?
No   76%
Yes   19%
Not applicable  5%
Who pays the monthly voice/data fee for the mobile device?
The firm and user split the fee   55%
The firm   32%
The user of the device   13%
 
 
 
Has the firm used an outside consultant to negotiate its voice/data plan contract? 
No  68%
Yes  32%
 
Compared to previous years, did the firm find wireless carriers more flexible when it comes to negotiating rates?
Yes  51%
No  49%
 
 
What are the biggest benefits of mobile technology for your firm?
Increased flexibility  91%
Better client service  87%
Increased productivity  83%
Improved access to data  69%
Better collaboration  42%
Cost savings  10%
Other   1%
 

 
Click the image to see how individual firms responded to these questions.

 
VIDEOCONFERENCING
 
Does your firm use videoconferencing?
Yes  99%
No  1%
Can clients come in and use the videoconferencing system for their own needs?
Yes  57%
No  43%
 
Does the firm have a dedicated videoconferencing room or rooms?
Yes  78%
No  22%
 
If yes, at how many locations does the firm have dedicated vieoconferencing rooms?
Average  11
 
Is your firm's videoconferencing system HD-capable?
Yes  87%
No  13%
 
Does the firm still use ISDN-based videoconferencing equipment?
No  51%
Yes  49%
 

What purpose does your firm use videoconferencing for?
Administrative meetings  75% Communication with colleagues in non-U.S. offices 22%
Client meetings  72% Firmwide announcements from management  13%
In-house training programs  63% Expert witnesses  12%
Communication with colleagues in U.S. offices  42% External CLE  8%
Depositions  25% Other  3%
 
 
What firm IT infrastructure does your videoconferencing system use?    What videoconferencing vendor do you use?   
Is IP-based and runs over our main data/VoIP network   75% Cisco   49%
Is IP-based and runs over a separate, videoconferencing-only link   24% Polycom   41%
Is not IP-based   1% Tandberg  8%
    LifeSize   7%
 
 
ONLINE COLLABORATION
 
Does the firm use Web conferencing software?
Yes 97% No 3%
 
 
Does the firm use Microsoft SharePoint? 
Yes 87% No 13%
 
If yes, which version?
2010 56% 2007 44%
 
 
What are the biggest benefits of online collaboration for your firm?
Increased productivity  90% Greater innovation  36%
Improved processes  75% Cost savings  25%
Better client service  72% Other   3%
Better access to ideas  58%    
 
 
 
SOCIAL MEDIA
 
Does your firm publish blogs?
Yes  65% No  35%
 
 
What is the firm's policy on blogs if they are maintained?
Only select users can post to the blog and all posts are reviewed for content   38%
Only select users can post to the blog   33%
Any user can post to the blog   17%
Any user can post to the blog but all posts are reviewed first for content   13%
 
Does the firm use social networking technology?
Yes  75% No  25%
 
 
If yes, which social networking site/technology does the firm use?
LinkedIn  96%
Facebook  66%
Twitter  66%
Proprietary platform we've developed in-house  2%
Other  7%
 
 
VOIP
 
Does the firm use VOIP telephony technology?
Yes  92% No  8%
 
If yes, how would you describe the firm's experience with VoIP telephony?
Positive   80%
Somewhat positive   13%
Neutral   4%
Somewhat negative   1%
Not applicable   1%
 
 
What has been your biggest disappointment with VoIP?
A tough technology to implement right  33%
Required us to upgrade our network in ways we didn't expect  29%
Wasn't as inexpensive as we thought  27%
The quality is disappointing  11%
Requires too much support or training  9%
None  11%
Other   13%