Twenty-sixteen is a big year for lawyers and mobile technology. Statistically speaking, all lawyers now access work email, perform legal research and communicate with clients or colleagues 1) while away from their offices and 2) using smartphones, laptops or tablets.
Practicing Law Whenever, Wherever
According to the American Bar Association’s TECHREPORT 2016, today’s attorneys are practicing law from a home office or shared office space, while traveling and outside regular workday hours in addition to using a traditional law office with regular business hours.
- 70% of lawyers primarily work out of a private law office
- 16% primarily work from home
- 14% work from shared office space
- 35% solo/small firm attorneys have private offices
- 37% work primarily from home
- 26% work from shared space
While 99% of respondents check email while out of the office, lawyers are using a variety of devices to get work done remotely. They’re using high-speed internet access for legal work with a laptop (46%), smartphone (27%), tablet (13%) and desktop computer (13%).
Most lawyers are connected to the internet all the time:
- 93% of lawyers use a smartphone
- 74% of lawyers use a personal phone, BYOD (bring your own device)
- 70% of lawyers use their smartphones to do legal work while at the office
- 51% of lawyers use a tablet computer for legal work
- 81% of lawyers use a personal tablet, BYOD
- 84% of lawyers also use a laptop computer for in-depth work away from the office
Mobile Security = Mobile Savvy
ABA TECHREPORT 2016 also indicates that the confidential client data in emails, files and other forms of communication stored and transmitted by lawyers’ laptops, iPhones and iPads may not be properly protected.
- 98% of lawyers use password protection for logging into their laptops
- 19% of lawyers encrypt their laptop hard drive
- 95% of lawyers use a passcode on their smartphone, which are encrypted when locked by a passcode
However, only 43% of lawyers report having a mobile technology policy for their firm, which indicates a lack of clear technology standards and policies. It’s time for lawyers and law firms to use smarter security measures.
Apps Usage Among Lawyers
As of June 2016, Statista reports that Android users at large can choose between 2.2 million apps while the world’s Apple users have access to 2 million apps. This indicates that more and more lawyers will be testing new legal and business tools to use on their smartphones.
Currently, the ABA reports that 40% of lawyers use legal research apps on their smartphones and 40% of lawyers use business or productivity apps not built into their smartphones. However, most lawyers (60%) are missing any opportunity to leverage the power of their devices or to engage with productivity and practice management apps for lawyers that can contribute to overall effectiveness. Lawyers can turn their smartphones into e-readers, mobile law libraries, scanners and billing managers. Applications for mobile devices help lawyers create and manage office documentation, spreadsheets and presentations.
Lawyers can also merge their mobile devices with speech technology tools such as digital dictation and speech recognition.
Mobile Speech Productivity
Dictation through mobile devices is one of the latest updates in speech productivity technology. Lawyers and legal professionals can dictate case notes, tasks or directions to support staff, time for billing, etc. using their mobiles at a client’s office or in transit, then send those recordings instantly to support staff back at the office for transcription or follow-up, without requiring the device to be docked or connected to a computer.
Advantages of Mobile Dictation
- Improved productivity
- Improved document turnaround time
- Better client responsiveness
- Reduced hardware costs and maintenance
Van Ausdall & Farrar and Winscribe
Winscribe mobile dictation applications from Van Ausdall & Farrar work with accurate speech recognition engines now averaging 95% or greater. In addition, mobile dictation with voice-to-text capabilities can enable even quicker document editing and turnaround.
Benefits of Winscribe Apps
- Integral cycle between image, location, identification and audio recording
- Allows for multiple information streams to be recorded, analyzed and stored centrally
In the field, a lawyer can capture information via a camera -such as accident pictures- and add a geo location tag. Or they can dictate case-relevant data, which is linked together, so assistants back at the office can process multiple data streams.