How well do you think you know the attorneys at your firm? Known for a direct, pull-no-punches nature, you might think that attorney behavior and mindsets are predictable. To a certain extent, this may be true. However, there is one key area where attorneys continue to surprise their colleagues at the firm: mobility.
According to the 2015 ABA Legal Technology Survey, 96% of attorneys use smartphones for law-related tasks, including Email (90%),Texting/Chat (88%), Calendar and Contacts (75%) and Internet Access (64%). When compared to the overall smartphone adoption of US adult population, attorneys are ranking above average, believe it or not! Pew Research Mobile Technology Fact Sheet shows that among adult smartphone users, 67% use Email, 81% Text/Chat and 60% Internet Access.
At the intersection of attorneys and mobility, there are many misconceptions. These myths cause a pause when it comes to decisions surrounding technology and change within firms. In this post, we’ll explore common myths concerning attorneys and mobility, shedding light on the facts that might change your technology game forever.
First, let’s get this one out of the way, it’s a big one…
Myth #1: Attorneys won’t use new technology.
Fact: We’ve found that the issue is not the technology itself, but how easy and useful that technology is to adopt and use. You may remember our post discussing activation energy, which is the amount of output required to learn a new process or technology. As long as an App or other piece of technology is easy to learn (requiring little training and effort) and adds value to attorneys’ processes, they are more likely to be very open to new technology. The problem, historically speaking, is that many legacy technologies are difficult to learn and use, and offer little long term value to the attorney.
As we love to say: “Attorneys are not averse to technology, they are averse to technology that doesn’t work for them.”
Myth #2: Attorneys don’t use smartphones.
Fact: While not commonly associated with “early adopters,” attorneys are heavy users of smart phones, tablets and apps as part of their daily business and personal lives. While this may not be a surprise, as most of the population has adopted mobile devices, the key distinction is how attorneys use this technology. As stated above, 96% of attorneys use smartphones for law-related tasks (2015 ABA Mobility Survey). Furthermore, recent breakthroughs in wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch, are also gaining attorney attention. Many attorneys have already adopted the Apple Watch to keep time, stay on time and stay on top of their caseload.
Myth #3: Attorneys work at their desk.
How we picture attorneys carrying out their work:
Fact: How attorneys really work:
Myth #4: Mobility means “not in the office.”
Fact: Although we contend that mobility begins the moment that attorneys step away from their desks, in order to truly realize mobility, firms must practice True Mobility, enabling attorneys to maintain a consistent level of productivity anywhere, at any time, from any device.
Myth #5: Mobile Technology is a “Gen Y thing.”
Ok so let’s just pretend, for a moment, this is true. Consider that the earliest members of Gen Y were born in the early 1980s, which means that they’ve had significant experience in today’s law practices. They’re not kids anymore, and it is not uncommon for law firms to be dominated by Gen Y attorneys, even at the partner level.
Fact: Attorneys of all generations are leveraging mobility to get the job done. In fact, dismissing the impact of mobility or other technology advancements as “one of the kid’s toys” is selling short the priorities of attorneys from all generations that want to work as simply and efficiently as possible.
What are some other myths that surround attorneys in today’s law firms? Share your comments below.