While many lawyers have traditionally been slow to use new technologies in their practices, mobile technologies have been a decided exception. Lawyers have taken to mobile tools like a fish takes to water. Look no further than the American Bar Association’s 2014 Legal Technology Survey Report and our latest infographic on mobile lawyers for proof of this trend.
For starters, the first step toward untethering from the office was laptops, and the vast majority of lawyers now use laptops as part of their day-to-day practice. According to the survey results, in 2014 73% of lawyers used laptops in their law firms compared to 76% in 2011. And solo lawyers lead the way with 84% of solos using laptops in their law firms in 2014 compared to 78% in 2011.
The vast majority of lawyers use smartphones as well. 77% of lawyers reported personally using smartphones for law-related tasks in 2014 compared to 71% in 201. 80% of solos used smartphones in 2014 compared to 65% in 2011.
Finally, lawyers have also adopted tablets into their practices, with 54% reporting that their firms have tablets available for their use in 2014 compared to 20% in 2011. And once again, solos reported using them the most–62% in 2014 compared to 19% in 2011.
The next step in the mobile revolution for lawyers will be wearable technology. In fact, some forward thinking lawyers are already using mobile technology tools in their law firms. For example, MyCase customer Mitch Jackson has already started to experiment with using Google Glass in his firm, while MyCase customer Lisa Epperly uses her Samsung Gear Neo smartwatch to help run her law practice.
Right now, lawyers who use wearable technology in their law firms are in the minority, but with the release of the Apple Watch last week, that will soon change. Within a matter of a few years, wearable technology will soon become commonplace with lawyers, with the Apple Watch being the gateway drug.
In part this is because the iPhone is the most popular smartphone with lawyers, with the results of the ABA’s survey showing that 74% of firms make iPhones available to their attorneys. Since most attorneys use the iPhone, the Apple Watch will be a natural extension of their phones–and it will be one that will simplify their digital lives, not clutter them, which is why it will be so popular with lawyers.
Not yet convinced? Let me explain.
The Apple Watch will serve as an unobtrusive, immediate link to the truly important information while simultaneously filtering out extraneous digital noise. The subtle, unobtrusive notifications will make all the difference, since lawyers will be able to program their watches to permit notifications about phone calls or messages from only the most important people in their lives: their assistants, their work colleagues, or their spouses..
Lawyers will receive a vibration on their wrist informing them of an important event and then, during a break in the proceedings or a meeting, will be able step out of the room and return the call. And any other notifications or events that haven’t been identified as important enough to be filtered through to their Apple Watch can be dealt with later, at their convenience.
Women attorneys in particular will appreciate the Apple Watch notifications. Most professional women don’t carry their iPhones in their pant pockets or in the inside pocket of their suit jackets since the pockets are too small and instead store phones in their purses and briefcases, resulting in missed phone notifications since women are unable to feel the phones vibrate and oftentimes can’t hear them when they ring. The Apple Watch solves this problem since it provides women lawyers with the ability to receive important notifications right on their wrist, even if their iPhone is hidden away.
So while the unobtrusive notifications on the Apple Watch seem like such a simple concept, they will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of lawyers of both genders. Of course, there’s more to the Apple Watch than just the ability to screen notifications and as it evolves and third party developers begin to create apps based on demand, the Watch will improve just as it predecessors the iPhone and iPad did and will ultimately be shaped by the needs of its users.
Still not convinced that it’s worth your while to spend your hard earned money on the latest shiny tech gadget? Well if you’re attending ABA Techshow next week, you might not have to since MyCase is giving away an Apple Watch! You can enter the drawing at our booth, #404. Hope to see you there and good luck!