Legal Technology Trends in 2013 and Beyond

January 23, 2013

The impact of mobile technology and cloud-based computing can be felt in all corners of society and culture.  From the way we interact with colleagues and friends, to how we manage our time and daily life, norms are changing, practices are evolving.

This shift in thinking is especially prevalent in the legal market.

Due to the document-intensive nature underlying most attorneys’ workflow, these emerging trends are especially impactful.

Attorneys are now practicing wherever and whenever they choose.  From collaborating with co-counsel and colleagues in the cloud to annotating a deposition on their iPad and recording billable time on their smart phone, the practice of law is rapidly evolving.

Several statistics from the 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey seem to confirm this evolution:

  • The number of attorneys that belong to a social network increased from 15% to 78% between 2008 and 2012
  • The number of attorneys using a smart phone increased from 38% to 89% between 2007 and 2012
  • The number of attorneys using cloud-based software increased from 13% to 21% between 2008 and 2012

Beyond the surprising empirical evidence gathered in the ABA’s survey, the recognition of legal technology trends are being codified in recent changes to ABA Model Rules, adopted in August.

Most notably, the ABA amended the comments to rule 1.1 requiring lawyers to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology” in order to competently serve their clients.

With this change, attorneys are now ethically obligated to explore relevant technologies that may allow them to serve their clients more effectively and efficiently.

The ABA also adopted rules around the use of cloud-based storage and computing, further evidence of a sea change in thinking about technology and it’s far reaching impact on the practice of law.  As new technologies emerge and the practice of law continues to evolve, the definition of successful practice will also evolve.

In the future, the most successful firms will be those that can identify relevant technologies the earliest, implement them quickly and profit from the gain in efficiency to better serve their clients.

To learn more about mobile technology trends in the legal market, view my webinar on FirmCentral.com and click register now (you’ll instantly be entered into a weekly drawing for a mini-tablet!).