Last week on 12/13/16, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center released its 4th Annual ABA TechReport. The TechReport is composed of the following 10 sections, all of which can be downloaded for free:
- Planning and Budgeting
- Technology Training
- Cloud Computing
- Mobile Technology
- Practice Management
- Blogging and Social Media
- Virtual Law Practice
- Litigation and T.A.R.
- Solo and Small Firm Technology
I took a look at all of the reports, and here are a few takeaways that will make you want to read more. The key thread in all of the articles is that lawyers need to embrace technology to enhance their practices while protecting sensitive client information. In addition, the data from the surveys underlying the reports indicate which software and cloud-based services lawyers are using most in case you are looking for some ideas.
Only 5% of lawyers claim that they have a virtual law practice, but many do not realize that using email and cloud-based services for exchanging documents with clients are forms of a virtual law practice (VLP), although document-sharing with clients is not "mainstream" yet. Most lawyers do not use a single product but instead use a "patchwork" of practice management tools to keep track of clients, calendars, billing, etc. Most solos and small firms are not blogging, a time-consuming job that is mostly in the domain of large firms. Despite an inundation of marketing aimed at TAR, or Technology Assisted Review for e-discovery, it has not been widely adopted by many lawyers. Finally, while larger firms have ample in-house and vendor-provided training opportunities to keep them abreast of new online legal research techniques, solos and small firms often claim that they are not aware of training. My advice to them is check with their bar associations and local law libraries for CLE opportunities and CLE booklets.