DoesYourFirmHaveABlog
The number of law firms with blogs has plateaued, neither growing nor dropping for four years straight, according to the 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report recently published by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

The survey found that 26 percent of firms have blogs. That number has remained effectively unchanged for 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

The larger the firm, the more likely it is to have a blog. Among firms of 500 or more attorneys, 60 percent have blogs, and at firms of 100-499 attorneys, 52 percent have blogs. In contrast, just 12 percent of solos have blogs and 20 percent of firms of 2-9 attorneys have blogs.

By practice area, personal injury lawyers are most likely to have blogs, followed by lawyers who concentrate in litigation and then labor and employment law.

Personal Legal Blogs

While the questions above asked about whether their firm has a blog, lawyers were also asked whether they personally maintain a legal-topic blog. Here again, the answers reflected virtually no change over prior years.

This year, 8 percent of lawyers said that they personally maintain a legal-topic blog. Last year, that number was 7 percent and in 2014 it was 8 percent.

Of the lawyers who do personally maintain a legal-topic blog, 10 percent are from firms of 2-9 attorneys, 9 percent are solos, 6 percent are from firms of 10-49 attorneys, and 5 percent are from firms of 100 or more attorneys.

The lawyers who have blogs of their own were asked if they had ever had a client retain their legal services directly or via referral as a result of their blog. Overall 42 percent said report yes, compared with 39 percent in 2015, 23 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2013.

ClientsFromBlog

Reading Blogs for Current Awareness

The survey also asked lawyers about their use of blogs for current awareness. Here again, the results suggest little change over the last four years.

The survey found that 64 percent of lawyers use blogs for current awareness. That compares with 61 percent in 2015, 65 percent in 2014 and 72 percent in 2013.

Nine percent of lawyers say they use blogs for current awareness on a daily basis. Eighteen percent say they use them at least once a week, and another 18 percent say they use them at least once a month.

Lawyers under age 40 are most likely to use blogs daily, while lawyers 60 and older are least likely.

About the Survey

The annual six-volume survey covers:

  • Vol. I: Technology Basics & Security.
  • Vol. II: Law Office Technology.
  • Vol. III: Litigation Technology & E-Discovery.
  • Vol. IV: Web and Communication Technology.
  • Vol. V: Online Research.
  • Vol. VI: Mobile Lawyers.

The survey can be purchased from the ABA. The full survey costs $1,995 and separate volumes cost $350 each.

I’ve published a couple of posts so far on the recently released Legal Technology Survey Report from the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center — one post about cloud computing and another about mobile apps and devices.

Now I’ve gone through the survey to find what it reveals about trends in e-discovery. I’ve published that post at the Catalyst E-Discovery Search Blog: Latest ABA Technology Survey Provides Insights on E-Discovery Trends.

LegalApps2016

The most popular legal-specific smartphone app among lawyers is Westlaw (maybe) and the most popular smartphone among lawyers is the iPhone, according to the 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report just out from the American Bar Association.

Only 40 percent of lawyers say they have ever downloaded a legal-specific smartphone app, but of those who have, the app they most frequently downloaded is Westlaw (37 percent), according to the survey.

But here is why I added “maybe” to that. The survey was conducted between January and May 2016. But Westlaw did not release a smartphone app until March 2016. (See: Westlaw Gets An App for News and Research on an iPhone.) Prior to that, the only app it had was for the iPad. iPhone users could access Westlaw through a mobile-optimized site, but not through an app.

So I’m not sure what to make of this result. It is possible, I suppose, that the Westlaw app leaped to top-place during the final two months of the survey. But it seems unlikely. The more likely explanation is that the survey respondents confused using Westlaw’s mobile-optimized site with having downloaded an app.

(As you’ll see below, there are a couple of other problems with the survey listing non-existent apps.)

The other top legal-specific apps lawyers list are:

The same number of lawyers — 40 percent — say they have downloaded a general business app for their smartphone. The most popular business apps they downloaded are Dropbox and LinkedIn, which were both mentioned by 70 percent of those who had downloaded a business app. Other popular apps are:

Lawyers were also asked how often they use voice-enabled apps or features — such as Siri or dictation — on a smartphone or tablet. Fifteen percent said they do regularly, 26 percent said occasionally, 28 percent said seldom, and 29 percent said. Overall, 69 percent of lawyers use voice enabled-apps on their smartphone or tablet.

Smartphone Operating System

The survey asked lawyers whether they use a smartphone for law-related work while away from their primary workplace and, if so, which operating system powers the smartphone. (The survey did not ask how many lawyers own a smartphone overall, not just for law-related tasks.)

Smartphone operating systems.
Smartphone operating systems.

Overall, 93 percent of lawyers use a smartphone for law-related tasks outside the office. The percentage varies slightly by firm size, from 90 percent for solos to 96 percents for lawyers in firms of 100 or more.

For operating system, the iPhone is the most popular by a wide margin, with 73 percent of lawyers who have a smartphone saying they have an iPhone. Android is next most popular, used by 23 percent of lawyers, then come BlackBerry (3 percent) and Windows Mobile (2 percent).

The survey indicates that iPhone use among lawyers continues to grow each year while use of other systems is declining. The sharpest decline is in BlackBerry use — from 16 percent in 2013 to 3 percent in 2016.

Use of Tablets

Fifty-one percent of lawyers say they use a tablet for doing law-related work while away from their primary workplace. The use of tablets is statistically even across all firm sizes.

Among the lawyers who use a tablet, the most popular type is the iPad, which is used by 84 percent. Only 10 percent use an Android and 5 percent use a Windows Mobile device.

About the Survey

The annual six-volume survey covers:

  • Vol. I: Technology Basics & Security.
  • Vol. II: Law Office Technology.
  • Vol. III: Litigation Technology & E-Discovery.
  • Vol. IV: Web and Communication Technology.
  • Vol. V: Online Research.
  • Vol. VI: Mobile Lawyers.

The survey can be purchased from the ABA. The full survey costs $1,995 and separate volumes cost $350 each.

UseofCloud2016

Just 38 percent of lawyers use cloud computing for law-related tasks, according to the just-released 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

That is only slightly more lawyers using the cloud than in the three prior years, when the percentage stayed at about 31 percent.

Fifty-three percent of lawyers say they have not used cloud computing and 10 percent do not know whether they have or not, according to the survey, which the LTRC conducts annually.

PlansToUseCloud

Of the lawyers who say they do not use cloud computing, 7 percent say they plan to use the cloud within the next 12 months, 3 percent say they plan to within the next two years, 17 percent say they will use it “sometime in future,” and 42 percent say they do not plan ever to use it.

When lawyers who do not use the cloud were asked why, the top 10 reasons they gave were:

  1. Confidentiality/security concerns, 63%.
  2. Concerns of having less control of your data because it’s
    hosted by the provider, not on your own server/computer, 54%.
  3. Unfamiliarity with the technology, 50%.
  4. Concerns of losing access to and ownership of your data, 39%.
  5. Cost/effort of switching from your current solution, 31%.
  6. Cost of services, 28%.
  7. Preference for owning software rather than paying a
    monthly subscription, 25%.
  8. Non-web-based software programs you use are sufficient
    for current needs, 24%.
  9. Lack of professional responsibility/ethics guidance, 24%.
  10. Uncertainty over longevity of vendor, 20%.

On the flip side, the lawyers who are using cloud computing for law-related tasks were asked what they see as the most important benefits. Their answers:

  1. Easy browser access from anywhere, 68%.
  2. 24 x 7 availability, 67%.
  3. Low cost of entry and predictable monthly
    expense, 59%.
  4. Quick to get up and running, 49%.
  5. Robust data back-up and recovery, 47%.
  6. Eliminates IT & software management
    requirements, 40%.
  7. Better security than I can provide in-office, 32%.

Although the security of using the cloud continues to be a top concern among lawyers, it appears that the majority of lawyers are doing little to address cloud security. Of the lawyers who say they use the cloud, 12 percent said they use no precautions or security measures of any kind.

With regard to other cloud security measures, the percentages doing them are generally low:

  • Reviewed privacy policy, 38%.
  • Make regular local data backups, 36%.
  • Use only web-based software which features
    SSL/encryption, 36%.
  • Use the software for non-confidential purposes
    only, 30%.
  • Reviewed Terms of Service, 29%.
  • Reviewed ethics rules/opinions, 29%.
  • Sought peer advice/experiences, 26%.
  • Evaluated vendor company history, 25%.
  • Use vendor-drafted service level agreement, 13%.
  • Negotiated confidentiality agreement, 8%.
  • Used security add-on (e.g. Boxcryptor), 8%.
  • Negotiated service level agreement, 2%.
  • Data escrow, 1%.

Some of those numbers are alarming. Most strikingly, of lawyers who are using cloud software in their law practices, only 29 percent bothered to read the terms of service. It’s one thing not to read the TOS for software you use in your personal lives, but when you’re using the cloud for your clients, at least read the TOS.

Which cloud services are most popular among lawyers? The survey asked which technology providers lawyers use for law-related tasks:

  • Dropbox, 57.6%.
  • Google Docs, 49.4%.
  • iCloud, 27.7%.
  • Evernote, 24.7%.
  • Clio, 16.0%.
  • Box, 12.6%.
  • MyCase, 6.9%.
  • RocketMatter, 3.9%.
  • NetDocuments, 3.5%.
  • Bill4Time, 2.2%.
  • SpiderOak, 1.7%.
  • Nextpoint, 1.3%.
  • Others, 16.5%.
  • Don’t know, 5.6%.

Note that the survey included the list of vendors’ names, so vendors not named in the survey would presumably fall under the “others” category.

The annual six-volume survey covers:

  • Vol. I: Technology Basics & Security.
  • Vol. II: Law Office Technology.
  • Vol. III: Litigation Technology & E-Discovery.
  • Vol. IV: Web and Communication Technology.
  • Vol. V: Online Research.
  • Vol. VI: Mobile Lawyers.

The survey can be purchased from the ABA. The full survey costs $1,995 and separate volumes cost $350 each.

securityprecautionstaken

Only a third of lawyers use encryption when sending confidential or privileged documents to their clients. Instead, the great majority of lawyers rely on a confidentiality statement in the message body to protect the email’s privacy.

According to the 2015 edition of the annual Legal Technology Survey Report, compiled by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center. only 35% of lawyers use email encryption. That percentage has remained virtually unchanged over the last four years of the survey, even as understanding of the need for encryption has grown throughout the professional and business worlds.

When the survey asked lawyers what security precautions they use when sending confidential or privileged communications to clients via email, the answer given by 71% of lawyers was that they rely on the confidentiality statement in the message body.

I simply do not understand the logic of this. If the confidentiality statement is inside the email, then by the time anyone sees it, they’ve seen the email. It is akin to putting a note inside a box that says, “Do not open this box.”

Other ways lawyers say they protect client email include:

  • A confidentiality statement in the subject line.
  • Requiring clients to provide written or oral consent.
  • Password protecting documents.
  • Using registered email.

It gets worse. Of the lawyers who say they use encryption, fully a third cannot say what kind of encryption they use. Those who could say what type of encryption they use most commonly identified it as a general purpose software with encryption features that required the recipient to be sent a separate password.

Lawyers in larger firms are most likely to use email encryption. More than half of lawyers in firms of 500 or more and 41% of lawyers in firms of 100-499 use it. Among solos, only 24% encrypt their emails.


Where lawyers go first to start a research project.
Where lawyers go first to start a research project.

Lawyers spend an average of 20 percent of their work time conducting legal research, and when they start a research project, they generally turn first to free online research services before using fee-based services or research materials in print or on CD-ROM.

However, with respect to online research exclusively (excluding books and CD-ROMs), lawyers are more likely to start a research project using a fee-based service than a free one. Thirty-eight percent of lawyers say they go first to a fee-based resource, while 37 percent say they start with a general search engine such as Google or Bing. Fourteen percent say they start with a bar-sponsored research service such as Fastcase or Casemaker.

205111053.Def.LThese are among the findings reported in the 2015 edition of the annual Legal Technology Survey Report, compiled by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center. These findings are from Volume 5 of the report, covering online research.

Not surprisingly, younger lawyers are more likely to use free services first, while older lawyers are more likely to use paid services first. Lawyers aged 50 to 59 are the most likely to report first going to fee-based online services for legal research. Virtually all lawyers — 95 percent of them — conduct research online at some point.

And if you are wondering whether any lawyers still use research materials on CD-ROMs, turns out they do. Fewer than 1 percent of lawyers begin their research using CD-ROMs, but 6 percent use them regularly and 19 percent use them occasionally. Solos are most likely to use them, followed by lawyers in firms of 2-9 attorneys.

One interesting question asked lawyers which format they turn to first (CD-ROM, online fee-based, online free or print) when performing research in 23 different topics. For 16 of the topics, lawyers named online free as the format they use most often, followed by online fee-based. Here are the topics for which lawyers first use free services to research, followed by the percentage of lawyers who say they use them  first:

  • Case dockets, 50.3%.
  • Companies/corporations, 69.3%.
  • Experts, 48.4%.
  • Federal administrative/regulatory/executive, 42.9%.
  • General news, 80.2%.
  • Judges, 53.8%.
  • Jury verdicts/settlements, 29.1%.
  • Lawyers, 77.1%.
  • Legal forms, 44.2%.
  • Legal news, 73.2%.
  • Practical guidance, 35.4%.
  • Public records, 71.2%.
  • Other state administrative/regulatory/executive, 51.2%.
  • Other state legislation/statutes, 45%.
  • Your state administrative/regulatory/executive, 48.3%.
  • Your state legislation/statutes, 51%.

Here are the topics for which lawyers first use fee-based services to research:

  • Federal case law, 54.8%.
  • Federal legislation/statutes, 43.9%.
  • Law reviews/legal periodicals, 39.9%.
  • Legal citators, 43.7%.
  • Legal treatises/secondary materials, 46.2%.
  • Other state case law, 51.8%
  • Your state case law, 53.9%.

All volumes of the survey are available for purchase through the ABA.


MostPopularApps2015

For the third year running, the Fastcase legal research app is the most popular legal app among lawyers, according to the 2015 edition of the annual Legal Technology Survey Report compiled by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

Among lawyers who reported having downloaded a legal-specific app, 41% named Fastcase. It was also the most popular app in the survey in 2014 and 2013, while the percentage of those who say they have download it is up from 36.5% last year and 26.5% in 2013.

(For prior years’ results, see these posts from 2014 and from 2013.)

Other top legal-specific apps mentioned by lawyers in the survey were:

  • WestlawNext, 34%.
  • Legal Dictionary App, 18%.
  • Lexis Advance, 18%.
  • TrialPad, 8%.
  • Courtlink, 5%.
  • LexisNexis Legal News, 5%.
  • LexisNexis Get Cases & Shepardize, 5%.
  • TranscriptPad, 5%.
  • HeinOnline, 4%.
  • Westlaw News, 3%.
  • Casemaker, 3%.
  • Clio, 2%

When asked in the survey about general business apps they had downloaded, the most popular was LinkedIn, named by 71% of respondents. LinkedIn was also most popular last year.

Other popular business apps among lawyers this year were:

  • Dropbox, 62%.
  • Evernote, 38%.
  • GoodReader, 18%.
  • QuickOffice, 17%.
  • DocsToGo, 14%.
  • LogMeIn, 13%.
  • Box, 6%.
  • Notability, 5%.

There are a couple of problems with these results, from what I can see.

For one, in its questionnaire to lawyers, the survey lists the names of specific apps and then includes an umbrella “other.” That means that respondents are selecting from a list that is not all-inclusive. There may be other apps that are popular among lawyers but that are not listed here.

For another, the third most popular legal app is “Legal Dictionary App.” To my knowledge, there is no app by that name. There are several legal dictionaries available in app form, from free ones to the $55 Black’s Law Dictionary.

And another: I could find no app in either the Apple store or Google Play called “Westlaw News.” Maybe it exists, but I could not find it.

The information about mobile apps is contained in Volume VI of the survey, covering mobile lawyering.


Blawgs-2011-2015

The American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center is out with the 2015 edition of its annual Legal Technology Survey Report, and it reveals that growth in blogging among lawyers is virtually stagnant.

This year, 26 percent of respondents said that their firm has a blog. That is slightly up from last year, when it was 24 percent, but down from two years ago, when it was 27 percent. Overall, the percentage has remained largely unchanged over the past three years.

The same stagnancy was evident when lawyers were asked whether they personally maintain a legal blog for professional purposes. Overall, 7 percent said that they do, down from 8 percent in 2014 and 9 percent in both 2013 and 2012.

PersonalBlogbyFirmSize

The survey shows a slight drop in blogging by solo lawyers, from 10 percent last year to 9 percent this year. It found a notable drop in blogging by respondents at firms of 100 or more lawyers, from 9 percent last year to 4 percent this year.

The survey also shows little change in the time lawyers spend working on their blogs. Overall, they devote about 1.9 hours per week to updating and maintaining their blogs. That is slightly less than 2.1 hours in 2014, 2.4 hours in 2013, and two hours in 2012.

One interesting question the survey asks each year is whether lawyers who have blogs have ever had a client retain them directly or via referral as a result of their legal blogging. Thirty-nine percent said they had. Here again, that percentage was virtually the same as 2014 (39.4%) and 2013 (39.1%). A third said they had not had a client retain them because of their blogging and 28 percent did not know whether they had or not.

The information about blogging was contained in Volume IV of the survey, which covers web and communication technology. For this survey, the LTRC received 938 completed questionnaires.

Security Tools Used

Nearly half of law firms were infected with viruses, spyware or malware last year, according to the latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. At the same time, only a quarter of law firms had any kind of email encryption available for their lawyers to use, the survey found.

Also, 14% of law firms experienced a security breach last year in the form of a lost or stolen computer or smartphone, a hacker, a break-in or a website exploit.

Taken together, these findings paint a sorry picture about the state of law firm security: Viruses are common; encryption is not.

Firms with virus

In the survey, 45% of respondents said that their law firm technology had been infected with a virus, spyware or malware. That was more or less the same as the two prior years (43% in 2013 and 44% in 2012) and down from 55% in 2011. Firms of 2-9 attorneys were most likely to have had a virus (51%), while firms of 500 or more attorneys were least likely (31%). Another 28% of respondents could not say whether their firm had been infected.

On the bright side, of those who reported an infection, 48% said it resulted in no business losses or breaches. The most common negative results from virus infections were downtime/loss of billable hours (42%), consulting fees for repair (37%), and temporary loss of network access (25%).

Only 6% said the virus resulted in the destruction or loss of files and less than 1% said it resulted in unauthorized access to non-client sensitive data.

Regarding email encryption, just 25% of law firms have it available, according to the survey. It is more commonly used at larger firms and least likely to be used at solo and small firms.

However, among lawyers who affirmatively say they use email to send privileged or confidential communications, the use of email encryption is slightly higher — 35%. By far, the most common “security precaution” taken by lawyers who send privileged emails is to insert a confidentiality statement in the email. Seventy-three percent of lawyers rely on these statements to protect email confidentiality.

Security Breach

As for security breaches, they were most common at firms of 10-49 lawyers (19%) and 500 or more lawyers (17%). Among solos, just 12% reported a security breach.

For the most part, these breaches resulted in no business disruption or loss, although 26% said the breach caused downtime and loss of billable hours. Eight percent of the breaches caused the destruction or loss of files, but just 1% said it resulted in unauthorized access to sensitive client data. In 5% of the cases, the firms notified clients of the breach.

Some other interesting findings pertaining to law firm security:

  • 56% of respondents said their firm has a disaster recovery or business continuity plan, while 21% did not know whether their firm had such a plan.
  • The most common form of data back-up is an external hard drive, followed by offsite backup and online backup. Some 10% of firms use USB drives for back-up and 6% use CDs.
  • Half of all firms back up their computer files daily. Another 15% back up more than once a day.

About the Survey

The Legal Technology Survey Report is edited by Joshua Poje, director of theLegal Technology Resource Center.  It is published in six volumes. Each volume can be purchased for $350 or, for ABA members, $300. The volumes are:

combined edition can be purchased for $1,800 or, for ABA members, $1,550.

For the second successive year, the Fastcase legal research app is the most popular legal app among lawyers, according to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. The most popular business app among lawyers this year is LinkedIn, the survey said.

Among lawyers who reported having downloaded a legal-specific app, 36.5% listed Fastcase. Last year, Fastcase was also the most popular, with 26.5% saying they had downloaded it.

(For last year’s results, see this post.)

Other legal-specific apps mentioned by lawyers in the survey were:

  • WestlawNext, 33.7%.
  • Legal Dictionary App, 22.1%.
  • Lexis Advance, 14.1%.
  • TrialPad, 8.3%.
  • Courtlink, 6.7%.
  • LexisNexis Legal News, 6.4%.
  • LexisNexis Get Cases & Shepardize, 6.1%.
  • Westlaw News, 4.2%.
  • TranscriptPad, 3.8%.
  • HeinOnline, 2.9%.
  • Federal Courts, 2.9%.
  • Casemaker, 2.2%.
  • Other, 28.5%

When asked about general business apps, 68.3% of respondents named LinkedIn. Last year’s most popular business app, Dropbox, came in second this year, at 65.3%. That is still a big jump in usage, given that Dropbox was first last year with just 15.2% saying they had downloaded it.

Other popular business apps among lawyers this year were:

  • Evernote, 38.1%.
  • DocsToGo, 20.8%.
  • GoodReader, 19.9%.
  • QuickOffice, 17.8%.
  • LogMeIn, 15.1%.
  • Box, 8.5%.
  • Notability, 6.9%.
  • Other, 16.3%.

To reiterate, these percentages are of lawyers who reporting having downloaded a legal or business app, not of all lawyers who responded to the survey.

The Legal Technology Survey Report is edited by Joshua Poje, director of theLegal Technology Resource Center.  It is published in six volumes. Each volume can be purchased for $350 or, for ABA members, $300. The volumes are:

combined edition can be purchased for $1,800 or, for ABA members, $1,550.