The combination of cloud technologies and mobile devices have profoundly changed the way lawyers work. Over the years, lawyers have started using their mobile devices more and more for professional purposes, while they’re not at the office. Law firms can now be accessible to lawyers and their clients from anywhere, 24/7. While this has led to the emergence of virtual offices, those are still a minority. Instead, what we have witnessed is the rise of the mobile law firms. Unlike virtual offices, mobile law firms still have physical offices but you don’t have to physically be in them to be able to work. Using cloud technologies, they offer the convenience and flexibility to work securely from anywhere and at any time. In 2017, the vast majority of lawyers are telecommuting, or mobile lawyers.
Let us have a look at some statistics from the latest survey published by the American Bar Association:
- 94% of lawyers reported “regularly or occasionally using a mobile device for law- related tasks at home,” while 91% reported they also regularly use their mobile devices while in transit.
- 33% of lawyers telecommute at least once a week. Solo and small firm lawyers were the most likely to do so, at 39% and 35% respectively.
- Surprisingly, mobile devices are the most popular devices used at the office: 70% reported using smartphones, 66% use desktop computers, 51% use laptop computers, and 25% use tablets. (61% of solo lawyers mainly use laptops at work).
- 40% of lawyers are using specifically legal apps on their smartphones, with legal research apps being the most popular. (Note that these apps exclude the apps that are part of their legal practice management software).
- 40% also have downloaded general business apps to their smartphones, with document storage apps being the most popular.
A survey by Legaltech News revealed that lawyers mainly use mobile devices for increased productivity and increased flexibility.
The main tasks they perform online are practice management tasks. In 2017, most providers of law firm management software offer solutions that use cloud technologies, allowing lawyers to work from anywhere, 24/7. They use these mobile tools mainly to access their mail, their calendars, their contacts, and their case files. Other popular practice management functions include time tracking, billing, and expense tracking.
Mobile lawyers also use mobile apps for legal research, to store and share documents in the cloud, to work with PDFs, to scan documents and handwritten notes, to dictate and take notes, and to organize and present evidence. Many lawyers also have a legal dictionary on their smartphones.