Forecast for Law Practice: Cloudy and Mobile

mycase mobile pic

There’s no doubt about it: lawyers are rapidly embracing cloud-based law practice software and mobile computing.  As we recently reported, according to the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Tech Survey, a whopping 89% of lawyers now use smartphones and the percentage of lawyers who use tablets for law-related tasks nearly doubled over the period of one year, increasing from15% in 2011 to 33% in 2012.*

According to William Peacock at the Technologist blog, running your law practice on the go using cloud computing, legal practice software, and mobile devices may very well be the law practice of the future:

We’re becoming an always-connected workforce. It’s no longer sufficient to run your office from your office. You’ve got to have access to your data at all times. That means cloud-based practice management software is going to become a near must-have in the near future.

It’s the ability to access your law firm’s data, right in the palm of your hand no matter where you are, that is so appealing to many lawyers. And, as Joe Dysart explains in “The Mobile Lawyer,” an article from the most recent edition of the ABA Journal magazine, it’s law practice software in the cloud that makes this a reality:

App fanatics cite all sorts of reasons why they believe mobile is the future of law computing, but the ability of apps to technologically arm an attorney on the go continues to be one of the format’s greatest draws…

Many apps…offer attorneys fingertip access to all the firm’s data that’s stored in the cloud, no matter where they happen to be.

Immediate access to information is key for many many lawyers–especially when in court. We discovered this after conducting a mobile survey of MyCase users, from which we learned that the majority of mobile users accessed MyCase using their mobile devices at least once every day, most frequently in court.

That’s why we recently released the first law practice software mobile app of its kind–for both clients and lawyers. The new client-facing MyCase app  allows legal clients to access their case information and securely communicate with their attorneys on the go. And, the lawyer-facing app allows MyCase customers to securely manage all aspects of their law practice on go.

In fact, MyCase customers often tell us how useful it is to be able to quickly and easily access case documents using their mobile devices and MyCase’s legal practice software platform. Erin Levine describes the benefits of 24/7 mobile access: “(W)hen I’m in court and someone claims I never filed an order, I can pull out my iPad and access a copy of the filed order right in court.” Another MyCase customer, Samantha Thomas, reports similar experiences: “No matter where I am, I can log onto MyCase and access my files. So if I’m at court and a judge tells me an Order isn’t in their file, I pull out my iPad, log into MyCase, and show the judge the time-stamped order. The judges love this.”

Speaking of judges and mobile devices–even judges have gone mobile, sometimes to their detriment, as recently happened in a Michigan courtroom.  A Michigan judge inadvertently triggered his smartphone’s voice commands, in violation of his own policy forbidding the disruption of courtroom proceedings by electronic devices. The good news is that he treated his violation the same as he would have treated anyone else’s. The AP reports that he subsequently “held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.”

So, the moral of the story is make sure you’re complying with court rules when using your mobile device–even if you’re the judge!

*For more interesting statistics about how lawyers use cloud-based law practice software and their mobile devices, make sure to check out our infographic on the Rise of Mobile for Lawyers.

–Nicole Black