“The extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical,” goes the epigram attributed to 19th century French author Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. I couldn’t assist however consider that as I reviewed the outcomes of the 2019 Legal Technology Survey Report produced by the American Bar Affiliation’s Legal Technology Resource Center.
For all the event and innovation we now have seen in authorized know-how lately, some legacy applied sciences stubbornly stick round. Listed below are 5 applied sciences that you just may need thought have been lifeless inside regulation follow however that, in response to the survey, are nonetheless being utilized by attorneys.
By no means earlier than have authorized professionals had entry to such a wealth of on-line analysis supplies. From paid companies to free ones, from established suppliers to modern startups, we now have an array of instruments out there to us for just about any authorized analysis activity.
Given this, it’s possible you’ll be shocked to study that print supplies are nonetheless extensively used for authorized analysis. In accordance with the survey, 44% of attorneys say they use print supplies for analysis often, and one other 32% say they use them often. Solely 5% of attorneys say they by no means use print supplies.
Much more stunning, when attorneys have been requested the useful resource they flip to first when beginning a analysis undertaking, 7% answered print supplies. This was solely barely behind the 10% who stated they begin with a bar-sponsored free analysis service corresponding to Fastcase or Casemaker.
As you would possibly anticipate, age is an element right here. Legal professionals over 60 are extra possible than youthful attorneys to often use print supplies. Fifty-three % of these over 60 often use print supplies, in comparison with 29% below 40.
Within the early days of what was then referred to as computer-assisted authorized analysis, when computer systems have been sluggish and Web connections even slower, authorized analysis firms usually delivered their supplies to attorneys on CD-ROMs. However as on-line authorized analysis flourished, analysis by way of CD-ROMs grew to become all-but out of date.
“All-but” being the operative phrase. In accordance with the survey, 6% of hangers-on nonetheless often use CD-ROMs. Solos are most definitely to make use of CD-ROMs, however even on the largest companies, four% of attorneys nonetheless often use them.
However the CD-ROM could also be near its final breath. Almost half of attorneys (48%) say they by no means use CD-ROMs for authorized analysis and 29% say they seldom do.
The fax machine is like that nagging cough that persists lengthy after your flu signs have subsided. There is no such thing as a rational clarification for why the authorized career continues to make use of the fax, and but it does, in surprisingly massive numbers.
In accordance with the survey, greater than three-quarters of companies (77%) nonetheless use the fax as a type of communications software program. That quantity has not modified over the survey’s previous three years and has truly gone up for the reason that 2016 survey, when it was 70%. Amongst particular person attorneys, 43% say they personally use the fax for law-related duties.
In equity, it seems that the majority of those that are sending and receiving faxes are doing so by way of digital fax software program, with the preferred software program model being eFax, utilized by 57% of attorneys. The survey makes no point out of the legacy fax machines that have been as soon as ubiquitous in regulation workplaces, so it affords no perception into the extent to which they’re nonetheless used.
It generally appears as if each lawyer has an iPhone, and the survey confirms this. When requested what smartphone they use, 79% answered iPhone and 18% answered Android. Two % don’t use a smartphone.
However a small sliver of loyalists sticks to a BlackBerry. In accordance with the survey, BlackBerry stays the smartphone of selection for 1% of attorneys.
It was not way back that BlackBerrys appeared ubiquitous amongst attorneys, particularly amongst attorneys at massive companies. However its decline was precipitous. In 2011, 40% of attorneys used a BlackBerry. By 2013, that had dropped to 16%, by 2016, to three%, and now, to 1%.
One other product that after dominated the authorized market is WordPerfect. Within the late 1980s and early 1990s, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a lawyer who was not utilizing WordPerfect (no less than among the many attorneys who have been utilizing computer systems). However from the mid-1990s on, attorneys’ loyalty started to shift to Microsoft Workplace and Microsoft Phrase.
Aficionados will debate what prompted WordPerfect’s demise. Some say it was Microsoft’s monopolistic ways. Others blame it on WordPerfect’s failure to easily transition from DOS to Home windows. Regardless of the trigger, Phrase is now the authorized career’s phrase processor of selection. In accordance with the survey, 98% of attorneys say that Phrase is on the market to them at their agency.
However guess what? WordPerfect continues to be alive and kicking. Eighteen % of attorneys within the survey stated that WordPerfect is on the market at their companies. That’s greater than provide entry to Google Docs, which simply 9% of attorneys stated their companies provide. Word that the survey query was not whether or not the lawyer personally used WordPerfect however whether or not the software program was out there on the lawyer’s agency.
As well as, when attorneys have been requested what software program they use for PDF creation, 14% answered WordPerfect — nearly as many as use Power PDF (15%). The identical proportion of attorneys stated that they use WordPerfect as their redlining software program, second to Phrase (86%) and forward of CompareRite (10%).
Which, by the best way, must be sixth on this listing. LexisNexis retired CompareRite in 2002, but 10% of attorneys nonetheless use it.
A few of us spend a number of time speaking concerning the regulation workplace of the long run. However the Authorized Expertise Survey Report raises the specter of the regulation workplace of the previous. Someplace on the market, a lawyer is selecting up a e-book, sending off a fax, loading a CD-ROM, pecking keys on a BlackBerry, and rejoicing in WordPerfect’s much-vaunted Reveal Codes.
Plus ça change!
Robert Ambrogi is a Massachusetts lawyer and journalist who has been overlaying authorized know-how and the net for greater than 20 years, primarily by way of his weblog LawSites.com. Former editor-in-chief of a number of authorized newspapers, he’s a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and an inaugural Fastcase 50 honoree. He could be reached by electronic mail at [email protected], and you may observe him on Twitter (@BobAmbrogi).