Every year, the American Lawyer ranks the top 200 law firms based on revenue, a list called the Am Law 200. Firms on the list include megafirms with thousands of lawyers such as Skadden, Baker & McKenzie, Latham & Watkins and Jones Day, relatively smaller firms with very high profits per partner such as Wachtell and Cravath, and successful regional law firms such as Lewis and Roca and my firm, Adams and Reese. For the last 17 years, The American Lawyer has conducted an annual technology survey of the AmLaw 200 firms. This year's survey has information about iPhone and iPad support.
Back in 2008, only 5% of the firms reported having attorneys using an iPhone. In 2009, that number jumped to 55%, leading me to report (back when iPhone J.D. was not even one year old yet) that "Over half of the most profitable law firms use iPhones." That number rose to 77% in 2010, 96% in 2011, and according to this year's survey results, it is now at 99%. Suffice it to say that virtually every profitable law firm in America has lawyers using the iPhone. (Virtually all of the firms still support BlackBerry as well. 74% now support Android, and 37% support Windows Phone 7.) Given that we now see iPhones everywhere that we go, it no longer seems surprising to say that lots of lawyers use iPhones, but when you consider how dominating the BlackBerry was four years ago when only a few lawyers were using iPhones, this has been a big shift.
This year's AmLaw survey also asked about tablets. In 57% of the AmLaw 200 firms, over a quarter of the firm's lawyers are using tablets. In 10% of AmLaw 200 firms, over half of the firm's lawyers are using tablets. My own law firm has almost 300 attorneys, and while we're not yet at the point where half of our attorneys use an iPad, we're getting very close. And I say "iPad" not "tablet" in the context of my own law firm because while we have a handful of people using other platforms, virtually all of our attorneys using a tablet are using an iPad. I suspect that the same is true at most other AmLaw 200 firms. This year's survey reveals that 99% of AmLaw 200 firms support the iPad, 31% support Android tablets and 12% support a BlackBerry tablet.
The survey also reveals that only 8% of AmLaw 200 firms pay for iPads. As I wrote in an article for the Big Law newsletter earlier this year, I don't recommend that most law firms buy the iPads that their attorneys use. Instead, the key is to support iPads, including having someone in the tech department who can help people configure new iPads and select the best apps. Based on this year's survey, that seems to be the approach that AmLaw 200 firms are taking.