The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is a peer networking organization for people who work in the legal technology field, such as the people who work in law firm IT departments. I know that the folks in my law firm's tech department frequently take advantage of ILTA resources when seeking advice on selecting and working with hardware and software designed for the legal market and when recruiting new hires. ILTA just concluded its annual conference in Las Vegas, and at the conference ILTA and InsideLegal released the results of their eighth annual technology purchasing survey. The survey was sent to 1,232 ILTA member law firms with responses from 223 (18%) law firms, about 85% of which were U.S. firms. You can download this year's report in PDF format here.
When respondents were asked to describe the most exciting technology or trend, two of the top three answers were mobility and consumerization. (The other popular answer was virtualization.) Those answers do not surprise me. I see more and more lawyers using iPhones and iPads, and most of them are buying their own devices and using them at work (consumerization).
The consumerization trend is often called the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. 85% of the survey respondents say that lawyers at their law firms can purchase their own laptops, tablets or phones, which is an 11% increase from 2012. Indeed, 24% of respondents let their attorneys do all three — bring their own laptop, tablet and phone.
Lawyer iPad use
I previously reported that the 2013 ABA Technology Survey reveals an increase in attorneys using iPads, with about 48% of all attorneys using a tablet. 86% of the ILTA survey respondents said that at least some attorneys at their law firms are using tablets in their day-to-day work. However, only 7% of law firms reported more than half of their attorneys using a tablet for work. This question was not asked in ILTA surveys from prior years so we do not know the year-to-year increase, but I presume that these numbers are higher than last year. Indeed, I'm sure that all of us see more attorneys using iPads in 2013 than we did in 2012.
In light of the BYOD movement, at first I was surprised to see that 58% of the respondents said that their firms purchase tablets. Looking deeper at the numbers, though, I saw that this doesn't mean that ILTA-member law firms purchase tablets for everyone. To the contrary, only 4% of the surveyed law firms purchase tablets for all of their attorneys, and another 12% purchase them for attorneys only on a case-by-case basis.
For those law firms that do spend firm money purchasing tablets, all of them report purchasing iPads. The next most popular tablets are Android devices (purchased by around 22% of law firms purchasing tablets) and Microsoft Surface tablets (purchased by around 17% of law firms purchasing tablets). These results seem consistent with the ABA Technology Survey results which indicate that about 91% of all attorneys using a tablet use an iPad.
35% of law firms have a formal tablet security policy, and another 32% state that they have a formal tablet security policy in the works.
Lawyer iPhone use
The 2013 ILTA survey indicates that about 79% of law firms purchase smartphones for their employees. For those firms that purchase smartphones for their employees, 91% are purchasing iPhones. In light of the rapid decline in lawyer BlackBerry use over the past few years, I was somewhat surprised to see that 60% of law firms still purchase BlackBerries for at least some of their attorneys. Almost as many, 57%, purchase Android smartphones for some of their attorneys.
The ILTA survey is all about how law firms spend their technology dollars. Thus, the survey doesn't reveal anything about what apps lawyers are using, but it does address who is paying for those apps. The survey reveals that 69% of law firms don't pay for any apps used by their attorneys. The other 31% either provide an app allowance or reimburse specific types of apps, such as productivity or security apps.