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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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