In preparation for speaking at the Small and Solo Conference on November 12, I solicited feedback from fellow MSBA solo attorneys via an online survey on technology. My survey was designed to get at some basic questions on what solos use in their practice here in Maryland. I received 32 responses from fellow attorneys, and I share some of the results here in comparison to a larger survey conducted last year by the American Bar Association.
I asked a series of multiple choice questions of respondents, including “what kind of technology do you use in your practice?” and “what online marketing resources do you use in your practice?” I also asked respondents to categorize their practice, and how long they had been in practice. The ABA’s survey asked respondents nationally whether the respondent used a smartphone in their practice (such as a blackberry or iPhone), whether the respondent used social media for their practice, whether the attorney used a Windows PC or a Mac to practice, and what kind of web-based research and practice management tools the attorney used.
There are some interesting differences between the ABA survey and my informal survey. First, only 12% of ABA respondents indicated that they used some form of social media in their law practice. However, Maryland respondents indicated a considerably higher utilization rate (42% used an online law directory listing service like avvo.com, 39% used LinkedIn, and 23% used Facebook). Second, only 4% of ABA respondents indicated that they used a Mac to practice law. However, Maryland respondents indicated 6% used a Mac and another 13% indicated they used both a Mac and a PC to practice, suggesting that Macs have enjoyed a greater market penetration with attorneys who may have a legacy PC practice management system that they now operate in a virtual environment on their Mac. Third, only 28% of ABA respondents indicated that they regularly used some kind of practice management system, whereas 70% of Maryland respondents indicated that they had and used one in their practice. (Also notably, when asked what kind of practice management system, there was considerable diversity in the vendors named by responding attorneys).
Solos (at least here in Maryland), appear to be above average in their use of technology in their practices. Perhaps this is by necessity in order to reduce overhead costs. 63% of survey respondents indicated that they were proficient with technology, but less than 19% indicated they felt they were experts. Comments?