Legal IT Gems from the ILTA 2014 Technology Survey

legal it

Credit Viktor Hanacek

If you love data and Legal IT, the new International Legal Technology Association 2014 Technology Survey will be right up your alley. At 301 pages it is chock-full of fascinating data.

Over 450 law firms and legal departments responded to nearly 200 questions. The firms range in size from under 50 attorneys to over 700 attorneys on staff. I encourage you to take a look at the report for yourself. Legal IT is not like IT in other sectors. Legal IT moves more slowly in some arenas and more quickly in other arenas. Some of the data will amaze you, especially if you are from the west coast of the United States where Cloud-hosted solutions have been more readily adopted.

Email

For example, attorneys, as they will tell you, “live in email.” What email platform do they live in?

MS Exchange 2010: 78%

MS Exchange 2007: 13%

MS Exchange 2013: 6%

Office 365: 1%

Gmail: less than 1%

By far the dominant email platform at law firms is Outlook, with 91% of those surveyed still using 2007 or 2010. Email hosted in the Cloud, much like file storage in the Cloud, is far from mainstream at law firms.

Document Management Systems

Law firms use an abundance of products to manage data, search data, and discover data. One widely used type of solution is known as document management. It provides strict version control and document check-in and check-out. Firms were asked which DMS they use. Shown here are the 2013 / 2014 responses. WorkSite (now from HP) has long been the market share leader, but NetDocuments is emerging as the growth leader.

Autonomy WorkSite:  47% / 49%

OpenText/Hummingbird: 19 / 20%

Worldox: 11 / 12%

NetDocuments: 6% / 8%

At Mobile Helix, we provide mobility solutions for law firms and were especially interested in the mobile data.

Tablet Usage

Adoption of tablets is strong in law firms. An average of 40% of legal IT teams report that their attorneys use tablets or iPads. 90% have iOS tablets in use, 44% have Android, and 42% have Microsoft Surface Pros in use. Notably, this 42% for Surface Pro is up from zero percent reported last year. Surprising? For insight, read Leo Sun in Why Microsoft’s Surface Pro Could Be One of the Most Important Devices of 2015.  He accurately makes the point that legacy enterprises are dependent on Microsoft Windows products. This won’t change in the next few years. For those entities, the Surface Pro 3 provides lightweight mobility as well as compatibility with existing software. Per IDC’s report in August, tablet demand is leveling off. While the volume of Surface Pros in use at legal teams may not be high today, Legal IT professionals in many firms are testing them or have pilots in place.

Mobile Device Management

Legal IT professionals were asked, which third-party systems are you using for MDM? The responses:

None: 54%

MobileIron: 12%

Good Technology: 8%

AirWatch: 8%

The data on Mobile Device Management show that there is no clear leader in MDM in the Legal sector.  Usage is fairly evenly distributed between the top three providers. As the data show, many law firms are in the process of defining their mobile strategy and solutions.

Financial Support of Smartphones

Of the firms responding, 82% provide some type of financial support for smartphones for partners. 47% provide partial support for the phone. With respect to the service plan, 55% pay for the entire data plan while 47% pay for a portion of the data plan.

Finally, a resounding bit of data. Do you force the use of a password to unlock the screen of mobile devices? Yes – 83%.

–Maureen

 

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