Login | January 26, 2020

More than half of lawyers now work remotely

RICHARD WEINER
Technology for Lawyers

Published: January 10, 2020

While most of the data from the 2019 ABA tech report shows that the legal industry still struggles with even the basics of technology, there is one area in which some progress is being made through the past few years—the use of the cloud in general and remote working in particular.
As the tech-oriented millennial generation moves into positions of responsibility in the legal sector, what seems natural to them (and unnatural to the OK Boomer generation) naturally becomes the sine qua non of the business—including 24/7 online access to everything.
More than half of the respondents to this survey—55 percent-- telecommute on a regular basis. This used to be called “working from home” but even that is sort of a misnomer when the home office mirrors the brick and mortar office in real time. In what might be a surprise, telecommuting is more popular among the larger firms (60 percent). Guess it really isn’t that fun in a Biglaw office after all.
Comfort with working online goes out to every phase of the modern law office (finally). According to the report, 58 percent of attorneys use cloud computing services—up 20 percent from just three years ago. The cloud adoption is spread through all sizes of firms—never lower than 51 percent (large firms). Furthermore, 98.5 percent of those surveyed said that they used some kind of smartphone—with the iPhone far and away the most popular (and some Blackberry dead enders in the mix).
For current purveyors of server-based legal software, the study comes with some future shock—upwards of 8-12 percent of firms say they are planning to replace their land-based systems with SaaS platforms. One of the main reasons cited for this sea change in platforming is cost. Pretty sure the panic is starting to arise in in some of those software sales forces.
The cloud is also in the courtroom, of course. More than half use smartphones in the courthouse to check email, etc., 29 percent use tablets, and nearly half use laptops for everything from communicating to research and presentations.


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