Nine in 10 U.S. lawyers use smart phones for work

U.S. lawyers have embraced mobile devices
such as smart phones and tablet computers to help them perform work-related
tasks while on the move.

They doing this without the support to help
them use these technologies to their full potential, according to ALM Legal Intelligence.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents use a smart
phone for work purposes and 40 percent use tablets. While these mobile
platforms offer technological capabilities, only 13 percent of respondents use
them mostly in lieu of their PCs. More than 90 percent reported the primary
benefit of using their mobile devices is simply to keep tabs on their email.

A major factor that may be hindering the
more sophisticated use of mobile devices is the lack of support from their law
firms or in-house law departments. Nearly 40 percent of respondents who use a
smart phone and 54 percent of those who use a tablet do so without any official
assistance from their law firm or department management.

“As a group, lawyers have not won fame as
evangelists of technology,” said Nigel Holloway, vice president of research at
ALM Legal Intelligence.

A significant minority of lawyers is using
their smart phone or tablet to assist in business development: 18 percent
listed it as one of the three functions for which they use their mobile device
most. Social networking sites, in particular, are being leveraged with the use
of mobile apps for services such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect clients
with colleagues quickly.

To enhance the security of mobile devices,
some law firms and legal departments have started using mobile device
management software. These tools give employers control over how the devices
are used, such as restricting certain apps, but 53 percent of users on these
platforms say this has limited the usefulness of their smart phone or tablet.

Nearly a quarter of respondents don’t use a
password, and 17 percent don’t know how their device is secured. Less than 40
percent say their device can be wiped remotely.

More than 40 percent of respondents say
they have faced limits on smart phone or tablet use in the courtroom, including
being told to turn off the devices. Compounding the problem, even when the
rules permit use, some judges discourage it.

By Team
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