Business of Law

Getting Personal

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If the question last year was whether lawyers would ever take to the Internet’s social media, the answer this year has to be a resounding yes—on a personal level.

Asked for the ABA’s 2009 Legal Technology Survey Report whether they personally maintain a presence in an online community or social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn, LegallyMinded or Legal OnRamp, 43 percent of respondents answered yes, almost triple the 15 percent positive responses in the 2008 survey.

Their law firms also tripled their social network presence, but the per­centages were much smaller. When asked whether their firms maintain a presence in an online community or social network, only 12 percent of respondents said yes, up from 4 percent in the 2008 survey.

Here’s the breakdown:

Firm Size20092008
2-9 Lawyers14%5%

Other results found in the six-volume survey, available for purchase starting this month from the ABA Web Store, include:

11% work for firms with policies about lawyer or staff blogging, up from 7% in 2008.
25% of firms of 100 or more lawyers have such policies, up from 16%.
9% work for firms with policies on social networking, up from 4%.
17% of firms of 100 or more lawyers have such policies, up from 7%.
67% have smartphones available at their firms.

Brand choices include:

64% Blackberry
14% iPhone
13% Palm Treo

But the quick ascent of the iPhone hasn’t brought much change in personal computer choices. About 4 percent of respon­dents reported using the Mac operating system, up 1 percentage point over last year.

The ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center has been conducting legal technology surveys since 1990. For the 2009 survey, between 778 and 928 ABA members completed questionnaires for each of the six survey volumes between January and May.

Each survey volume begins with a Trend Report that summarizes the notable results and highlights changes from previous years. The Trend Report is followed by detailed charts and tables.

All titles are produced as PDF files and are available for immediate download upon purchase. Indi­vidual volumes (in PDF) cost $300 for ABA members and $350 for nonmembers.

The executive summary is $250 for members, $300 for nonmembers. The six-volume set runs $1,550 for members and $1,800 for nonmembers.

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