Every year the American Bar Association publishes a multi-volume report on technology trends in the legal industry (available for purchase here). One trend that really stood out this year was the tremendous effect of mobile computing on the practice of law. From the statistics, one thing is clear: of all new technology trends, lawyers are embracing mobile computing, first and foremost.
Lawyers love their iPads
Jeff Richardson over at iPhone J.D. recently reported on the mobile computing statistics from this report and the results were sometimes surprising, but always interesting.
First, smartphone use by lawyers for work-related tasks was up by just 1 percent from last year, with 89 percent of lawyers using smartphones. However, their phone of choice changed dramatically from last year, with Blackberry use declining significantly from 46 percent of smartphone-users in 2011 to just 31 percent this year.
More likely than not, the decline in Blackberry use by most lawyers is linked to RIM’s recent corporate struggles, but even so, BigLaw continues to cling to the dying brand, with 57 percent of large law firms reporting that Blackberrys are their smartphone of choice.
Of those who switched from Blackberrys to another phone, it seems that most switched to the iPhone, since the percentage of lawyers using iPhones increased from 31 percent in 2011 to 44 percent in 2012. During that same timeframe, Android use increased by only 1 percent going from 15 percent to 16 percent.
Another interesting statistic–smartphones and tablets aren’t the only evidence of lawyers’ increasing mobility. Laptops are also increasing in use, with a whopping 38 percent of lawyers reporting that they switched from desktops to laptops as their primary computer of choice.
Not surprisingly, one of the most drastic increases in lawyers using mobile tools was the surge in the number of lawyers using tablets. That percentage nearly doubled, with only 15 percent using tablets for law-related tasks in 2011, with that number increasing to 33 percent in 2012.
And which tablet do lawyers prefer? Right now, the iPad reigns supreme, with 91 percent of those lawyers who use tablet devices opting for the iPad. Of the remaining lawyers who own tablets, the vast majority chose an Android device.
The good news for the majority who chose the iPad: there are a large number of online resources available for lawyers seeking to put the iPad to use in their law practices.
iPad resources for lawyers
First, the American Bar Association recently published 2 useful books: “iPad in One Hour for Lawyers” and “iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers.” Both are written by Tom Mighell and are available for purchase at the American Bar Association’s website.
There are also a number of blogs devoted to lawyers and their iPads, including: 1) Tablet Legal, a blog written by attorney Josh Barrett (no longer being updated but provides a wealth of information in its archives), 2) iPad Notebook, a blog written by Justin Kahn, an attorney and Adjunct Professor at the Charleston School of Law, 3) iPad 4 Lawyers, a blog written by Tom Mighell, author of the two books listed above, and 4) Legal iPad, which is one of my blogs.
Two other blogs are also worth checking out, even though neither is specifically devoted to iPads: 1) iPhone J.D., written by attorney Jeff Richardson and 2) Trial Technology, a blog written by trial consultant Ted Brooks.
Another great online resource for lawyers is the Macs in Law Offices (MILO) online Google group. This online forum provides a ton of great information about using iPads in a law practice. This forum originally began as a place for lawyers to discuss the use of Apple computers in their law practices, but over time, morphed into a forum dedicated to the discussion of topics of interest to lawyers who use any type of Apple product in their law offices, including iPads.
Tablet apps for lawyers
So, now that you’ve purchased a tablet and have decided to use it in your practice, it’s time to buy some apps! No worries–there are lots to choose from! Because of the surge in the use of tablet by lawyers, there are an increasingly large number of apps created just for lawyers. So, I’ll leave you with a list of some, but certainly not all, of these apps:
Deposition and transcript apps:
- TranscriptPad ($49.99) (iPad) (Have you entered to win a free copy of this app yet? If not, enter here!)
- ExhibitView ($29.99) (iPad)
- Mobile Transcript (free) (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry)
- The Deponent App ($9.99) (iPhone, iPad)
Trial presentation apps:
- JuryTracker ($4.99) (iPad)
- iJuror ($9.99) (iPad)
- iJury ($14.99) (iPad)
- Jury Duty ($39.99) (iPad)
- iTestimony ($9.99) (iPad)
- JuryStar ($39.99) (iPad)
Legal document drafting:
- iPleading ($4.99) (iPhone, iPad, Android)
- dLaw (free) (Android) (includes FRCP, FRE, FRAP, FRCP, FRBP, U.S. Constitution with, other laws, including state laws, available for purchase)
- Lawstack (free) (includes, among others, the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and certain state codes, including New York)
- Fastcase (free) (iPad, iPhone, Android) (a legal research app that includes cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government)
- Mobile Ethics App for New York Lawyers (free) (iPhone, iPad)
- Wolfram Alpha Lawyer’s Professional Assistant ($4.99) (iPhone, iPad) (access definitions of legal terms, state-specific statute of limitation information, investigative information, such as weather and company information, perform calendar and financial calculations or utilize the blood alcohol calculator)