Apples to Apples

By , September 8, 2011 4:52 pm

By Philippe Cloutier

Technology in the legal world is funny business. We don’t pride ourselves on being on the cutting-edge or at the head of the line (or the upper middle) for upgrades. In my experience, many firms are squeezing the last bit of value from pre-2003 technology as much as possible. Even though it is often to our detriment- with constant debugging, restarts, freezing, and overall technical service time vacuums. The old adage, we are creatures of habit, largely informs this slow rate of change.  However, I think as our lives require the daily use of blended computers, cell-phones, tablets, etc., and the improvement of software reliability, speedier adoption of new technology will be the norm.

The ABA has an article containing all sorts of facts and figures regarding law firms and technology. Some highlights that caught my eye:

Computer monitors are getting bigger and cheaper. Corham noted that consumers are abandoning 15-inch monitors for bigger choices, as the price difference between options have shrunk. Also, more lawyers are using dual monitors to enhance productivity, especially for document review work. “One to have the database up, and the other for the document,” he said.

Smart phones are ubiquitous at large firms, with 93 percent reporting personal usage, shared Poje. The top two types last year were BlackBerry (66 percent) and iPhone (20 percent).

Computer monitors and desktops don’t seem to be going anywhere, unless one day we ditch the desktop and retain monitors to which we can hook up our tablets/phones. Also, the original iPhone came out in 2007, within that short amount of time it now commands 20% use at large firms. That’s really incredible and I think we can look forward to seeing this number grow. Unless Windows steps up to the mobile plate and hits a game-winning grandslam in the top of the ninth with 2 outs, I don’t see Apple losing this game; especially when we consider the extent of law firms adopting Apple iPads. Decades ago many law firms once used Apple computers, in the 90s the industry shifted and firms switched to Windows based machines. Windows XP has had a good run and Windows 7 is taking over. Yet I can’t help but think that Apple may find a resurgence in the years to come.

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