Every year, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) publishes TECHREPORT—a collection of easy-to-read breakouts of the annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, one of the leading surveys on how attorneys use technology. Practitioners, firms, and legal tech companies alike can use TECHREPORT to get a better grasp on legal technology trends and predictions.
Today’s excerpt is from the “Cloud Computing” report by Dennis Kennedy. Click here to download the full report.
The 2017 Survey asked respondents what cloud providers they had used. Dropbox, the well-known online file storage service, once again topped the list at 59%, essentially the same as in 2016. Other consumer cloud services also remained popular (Google Apps, 38%, down from 49%; iCloud, 32%, up from 28%; Evernote, 18%, down from 25%), despite a lot of discussion about encryption and other security concerns in the press and among lawyers.
Legal-specific cloud services have not reached the same levels of popularity as the consumer services. Clio continues to be the most popular legal cloud service named by respondents (12.4%, down from 16% in 2016), followed by NetDocuments (4.3%, up from 3.5% in 2016), MyCase (3.7%, down from 7% in 2016), and Bill4Time (1.5%, down from 2%). These results might reflect both the difficulties lawyers and others have with determining what exactly is a “cloud” service and the increased number of legal cloud service providers, especially in the case management category. Note that services that many would consider “cloud”—WestLaw, LexisNexis, FastCase, to name a few—do not show up in the results, except presumably as small components of the “Other” category (13.9%).
The high level of use of Dropbox in larger firms (47%) also indicates that lawyers in what are traditionally considered “locked down” IT environments are looking for other tools to accomplish tasks they have difficulty doing with traditional law firm tools—another area that deserves further exploration, especially by those firms.
In the last year or so, the collaboration tool Slack has become extremely popular in small businesses and technology companies. As of right now, there is still no indication of its uptake in the legal world.