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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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Lawyers and Technology

by Joe Kaczrowski | Apr 20, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words. We live in an era of 'big data.' How do you convey complex concepts based on that data? Pictures and infographics can take voluminous data and complex analysis and summarize it in a simple and easy to consume format. A simple example follows.

Over half of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. have smartphones, and lawyers check in at an even higher clip: 89% of lawyers own smartphones.  What other devices do lawyers use?  MyCase recently published a graphic summarizing the ABA Legal Technology Survey, and the MSBA conducted its own member survey.

According to the ABA numbers, 73% of lawyers use laptops in their firms (the number jumps to 84% for solo practitioners).  54% of lawyers have tablets in their practice (62% for solos).  What's the most popular tablet? 84% use iPads.

Only 17% of lawyers reported using tablets to create documents.  However, 77% reported using their smartphones for law-related tasks (jumping to 80% for solos).  Yet only 4% reported using their smartphones to create documents.  And what is the most popular smartphone? 74% have iPhones.

30% of lawyers use web-based software for legal tasks (35% of solos).  And 56% use online storage.

Compare the preceding paragraphs with this inforgraphic from MyCase:

mobile lawyer infographic

While only a small percentage of attorneys prepare documents on mobile devices, tools like the new mndocs on HotDocs Market make document generation much easier and offer anytime/anywhere access on any device.

So how do MSBA members compare?  While the surveys didn't ask the same questions (and the ABA survey was much more thorough), the results do show some similarities.

Almost 90% of responding MSBA members use a Windows PC. Just over 17% use a Mac in their practice. iPad usage clocks in at 27% while Windows tablet usage is at 12%, and almost 37% report using Android devices.  47% of members report using iPhones in their practice.

Finally, compare the preceding paragraph, which summarizes the same data, with this chart:

Lawyers are increasingly using a diverse collection of devices in their practice, as evidenced by both the ABA and MSBA surveys. While this can mean greater customer service and efficiency, it also raises a number of new challenges for attorneys.

As this simple example shows, there are many ways to present data. One other option, not included here, is to simply dump the raw data on your audience through pages of tables. Raw data may be preferable when importing and exporting between systems, but it generally is not the best way to convey the information to a human audience. So as you analyze your data and prepare your argument or paper, be sure to consider your audience and how long it will take them to process and understand what you are presenting. Trial attorney Randy Juip discussed the power of infographics and offered some tools and tips at last week's ABA TECHSHOW. The ABA posted a short summary of his talk over the weekend.