Lawyers at firms of all sizes want live training classes on technology, but this kind of instruction is often scarce at smaller law firms, according to the 2016 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report.
The American Bar Association Legal Technology Resource Center recently published its findings based on about 800 completed survey responses from members in private practice and reported on trends in hardware, software, mobile, e-discovery, social media and online research.
The 700-page survey report is broken down into six volumes. The full report is offered as a PDF download through the ABA’s website for between $1,600 and $2,000. As one of the sponsors, Thomson Reuters received a complete survey for free.
The volumes focus on technology basics and security, law office hardware and software, litigation technology and e-discovery, web and communication technology, online research, and attorneys’ use of electronic devices for law-related tasks or legal subject matter.
Large firm vs. small firm resources
The survey categorized responses by firm size. The categories are solo attorneys, firms with two to nine attorneys, 10 to 49 attorneys, 50 to 99 attorneys, 100 to 499 attorneys, and 500 or more attorneys.
One of the key takeaways from the full report was the discrepancy in resources for technology purchases and training among firms of different sizes.
When it came to training and blogging, attorneys at larger law firms generally had more resources and support and could potentially delegate more tasks to other staff.
Budgeting and training
Based on 765 responses, most firms — about 53 percent —budgeted for technology, according to the technology basics and security report.
However, when the responses were categorized by firm size, the percentages varied from 37 percent of solos to about 80 percent of firms with 500 or more attorneys.
This may be because larger firms were more likely to delegate technology purchases and budgeting to a committee or board of directors while smaller firms only had one person — usually a managing partner — making these decisions.
Similarly, large firms were more likely to have technology training opportunities available, including web-based or live classes taught by vendors, manufacturers or in-house staff, the report said.
The most effective technology training tended to be the live classes, no matter who taught them, the report added.
However, 41 percent of all respondents indicated that training on courtroom technologies, such as transcription tools and evidence presentation units, was not available to them, according to the survey.