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IBA: Double-digit growth for lawyers' use of Web 2.0 technologies, among ABA findings

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Lawyers’ use of smart phones and social networking technologies grew by double-digit percentages last year, indicating lawyers’ increasing “24/7” connectivity to their offices and clients, according to the recently released 2010 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report, an annual survey of technology use within the legal profession.

The most comprehensive resource of its kind, the 2010 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report provides more than 500 pages of detailed statistics and trend analysis on adoption of legal technology. From January through May, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center surveyed nearly 5,000 ABA lawyer members in private practice on their use of technology. Topics run the gamut from technology budgets and purchasing habits to the use of smart phones in the courtroom. The findings of the survey are released serially in six volumes: Technology Basics, Law Office Technology, Litigation and Courtroom Technology, Web and Communication Technology, Online Research, and Mobile Lawyers.

The survey concentrates on issues relating to technology use, not product use. The survey reports are segmented by technology rather than firm size, and rely on the number of lawyers in a firm as an additional metric on almost all questions.

Among other results:

When asked whether they maintain a presence in an online community or social network, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, LawLink or Legal OnRamp, 56 percent of respondents answered affirmatively, compared with 43 percent in the 2009 survey and 15 percent in the 2008 survey.

Far from being a time-waster, early efforts at social networking are yielding some fruit. Ten percent of respondents report having had a client retain their legal services as a result of using online communities or social networks.

Usage of the newly released Windows 7 (9 percent) has already surpassed that of Vista (8 percent) as the second most frequently reported operating system on respondents’ primary computers. Windows XP is respondents’ top operating system.

More than three-fourths (76 percent) of respondents personally use smart phones, up from 64 percent in the 2009 survey. The brands most often cited by survey respondents were BlackBerry/RIM (66 percent), followed by the iPhone (20 percent) and Palm (9 percent).

The percentage of respondents using smart phones in the courtroom has increased in the 2010 survey to 71 percent, from 60 percent in the 2009 survey. While in the courtroom, 64 percent of respondents use their smart phones to check for new e-mail (52 percent in the 2009 survey), 60 percent send e-mail (compared with 49 percent in the 2009 survey), and 46 percent perform calendaring functions (compared with 39 percent in 2009).

While 80% of respondents conduct legal research in their personal office, more than one-third (35 percent) of respondents report regularly conducting legal research at home (compared with 24 percent in the 2008 survey), and 12 percent at a firm library (compared with 17 percent in the 2008 survey).

When asked whether they have a virtual law office/virtual law practice (do not typically meet with clients in person, but instead primarily interact with clients using Internet-based software and other electronic communications software), 14 percent of respondents responded affirmatively. Of counsel and solo respondents were most likely to report having a virtual law office/virtual law practice (27 percent and 19 percent respectively).•

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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